Remember when the Brooklyn Nets signed Gerald Wallace to a four-year, $40 million contract extension last summer to be their perimeter defensive anchor and energy player? Well it seems as if those days are ages away, as Wallace has looked like a shell of his former self this season.
Wallace hasn’t appeared to have his usual reckless style of play this year and is having his worst season in just about every category since 2004, when he was a little-used bench player for the Sacramento Kings. In 55 games, Wallace is averaging only 8.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and shooting just .403 from the field, his lowest shooting percentage in a decade. Wallace’s declining play has even led to head coach P.J. Carlesimo benching Wallace for the entire fourth quarter in a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers earlier this week. This isn’t exactly what the Nets had bargained for.
Since Christmas Wallace has scored in double figures only five times in 35 games while shooting an abysmal .364 from the field and .271 from three. Wallace has never really been much of an outside shooter but he’s never been bad on this level before. Maybe Wallace has lost his confidence. Maybe playing a reckless abandon style is starting to catch up to him, but at 30 his rapid decline is a bit alarming.
Whatever the case, Wallace needs to figure it out. The Nets will need his energy and defense in the playoffs or they will be looking at an early exit.