Why Rasheed Wallace Will Hurt NY Knicks More Than He'll Help

Stephen Babb@@StephenBabbFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 15:  Rasheed Wallace #30 of the Boston Celtics looks on before taking on the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Six of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 15, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

With Rasheed Wallace reportedly on his way to the New York Knicks, it's time for the kind of sober reflection that must make James Dolan cringe.

The plan, inasmuch as you can call it that, is for the 38-year-old to back up Amar'e Stoudemire at power forward. In theory, his perimeter shooting and defensive prowess will deepen a front line already stocked with veterans Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas playing behind Tyson Chandler.

In practice, this is an unnecessary step in what can only be described as a strange and uncertain direction.

If you remember anything about Wallace, you might be concerned that his penchant for tantrums and theatrics will infuse this roster with all the wrong kind of leadership. And if you recall anything about when Carmelo Anthony was at his best this past season, you'll also worry that Wallace's minutes at the 4 will trade off with Anthony's ability to control the game in a smaller lineup.

Then there is the question of whether adding a guy who's been retired for two years to an already-aged roster makes a whole lot of sense.

Sure, you'd like to have playoff-tested veterans when it comes time to battle the likes of Miami and Boston in the postseason—but not just any playoff-tested veterans.

For one thing, you'd like those veterans to be motivated. Maybe Wallace is just that, but the fact that he called it quits in 2010 and already has a ring tends to suggest otherwise.

You'd also like those veterans to add some leadership, and the right kind of leadership at that. Kurt Thomas brings New York some needed grit. Jason Kidd brings some equally needed poise. And Rasheed Wallace brings what exactly?

Distraction, for starters.

The last thing aspiring boxer Amar'e Stoudemire needs hanging around the locker room is the NBA all-time leader in technical fouls.

Nor do the rest of Knicks need the kind of destabilizing influence who could begin to crack at the worst possible time. You might be willing to incur that kind of risk if Wallace brought something especially valuable to the rotation, but that's a tough sell in this instance.

Though he might have impressed in his workout with the Knicks, Wallace made just 28 percent of his three-point attempts in 2009-10. Even worse, he managed to put up over eight shots a game despite averaging just 22.5 minutes.

Sheed has never been shy about shooting the ball, and that's not especially ideal when you're talking about a second unit that will include the likes of J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert. 

Smith is more than happy to put up three-pointers—he averaged 5.5 attempts last season. The last thing New York's bench needs is another guy chucking them up without abandon, unless he chucks them as accurately as Steve Novak.

The popular sentiment will be that adding Wallace couldn't hurt and is therefore worth a try, but there's a very real possibility that it will hurt, that the Knicks will be haunted by a disruptive personality in a locker room already full of big personalities.

It's always nice to have an experienced big man who can spread the floor, but some context is in order when that man is Rasheed Wallace.