Former Boston Celtics forward Rasheed Wallace signed with the New York Knicks last week after taking some time off from basketball. Wallace played one year in Boston, helping the team advance to the NBA Finals before losing in game seven to the Los Angeles Lakers. Wallace was forced to log heavy minutes in that game as former Celtics center, Kendrick Perkins, was injured the game before and was not able to suit up for the rest of the series.
Wallace was a frustrating player during the regular season that year. ESPN columnist Bill Simmons had a great line on Wallace a few years ago, saying that he has never seen a player use the regular season as his training camp before using the playoffs as his regular season. It could not have been truer. Wallace showed up to camp completely out of shape and it clearly had a negative effect on his play. He wasn’t hitting open jump shots and he couldn’t stay on the floor for extended periods of time. I truly believe if Wallace was in better shape that season, the Celtics would have won the championship. Wallace was great in the post season, but it was still a small sample size compared to the regular season. If he worked harder during the season, he would have been even more prepared for the playoffs. Having said that, Wallace gave the team a big lift in their playoff journey and probably would receive more cheers than boo’s when he returns to the Boston Garden this season.
Does Wallace have anything left to give to a basketball team? I am not really sure. I think it would be great for Wallace to find his former All Star form, but I think the odds of that happening are very slim. If Wallace couldn’t stay in shape during his playing career, how is he going to do it with a two year break? That is a serious question for the Knicks and I am sure they did their due diligence before signing Wallace.
It will be very interesting to see how Wallace’s season transpires this year.
Rob Lunder covers the Boston Celtics for Rant Sports. For all Celtics news check out the Celtics team page on Rant Sports. Follow him on twitter at @rlunder18