At a time in which the youth is rising, the New York Knicks are only getting older. With five offseason acquisitions over the age of 35, the Mecca of Basketball is soon to be home to the oldest roster in the NBA.
And believe you me, the Knicks wouldn't have it any other way.
During the 2012 NBA postseason, it was painfully obvious that the Knicks were in need of veteran guidance. Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler fought all they could, but the rest of the team's postseason inexperience struck against the powerful Miami Heat.
With Amar'e Stoudemire suffering from a lacerated hand, and young starters Jeremy Lin and Iman Shumpert both suffering knee injuries, the odds were stacked high. LeBron James being on the other end certainly didn't help, either.
Although the Knicks secured their first postseason victory in over a decade, they were eventually sent to a first-round exit for the second consecutive season. As a result, the front office decided that it was time to bring in some crafty veterans to solidify their makeshift roster.
Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas and Pablo Prigioni appeared to be good fits that would strengthen their respective positions. The signing of Rasheed Wallace, however, was where things got interesting.
It was also where the Knicks took the final step to becoming a legitimate title contender.
Wallace, now 38, had been out of the league since 2010. He was a double-figure scorer in 14 of his 15 seasons in the league, however, and has proven to be both a defensive stopper and clutch scorer.
If the team was looking for a character to breathe life into their locker room, Rasheed Wallace is that guy. He may even make New York forget about Linsanity with the way he catches technical fouls.
According to Marc Berman of The New York Post, Wallace is taking the necessary precautions to contribute at as high a level as possible. He did not travel with the team for their preseason game against the Washington Wizards, citing his desire to "continue to get into shape."
Rasheed Wallace didn't make trip to Washington so he can continue to get in shape. Maybe Garden wants him for a fight at the Felt Forum.— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) October 10, 2012
After spending two years absent from NBA activities, this is the best move Wallace could have made. At the mercy of the vicious New York media, Wallace does not need to show up for a game out of shape and unable to perform at an adequate level.
The uphill battle is already steep enough as is.
As for what Wallace will bring to the team, look for his low minutes to be of high impact.
Yet Another Shooter
Even at 38, 'Sheed is more than capable of spreading the floor with his shooting ability. Wallace sits at a respectable 33.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc over the span of his 15-year career, which includes an average of 1.0 three-point field goals made per game.
Although he won't drop in 20 a night, the fact that he can stroke it from distance certainly fits the Knicks' makeup.
Steve Novak, Jason Kidd, Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith are all lethal from beyond the arc. Although the latter three lack consistency, each is capable of pouring it in from distance and will hit a clutch shot when need be.
As for Novak, he shot a league-best 47.2 percent from three in 2012. He's about as consistent as you'll find them.
Consider 'Sheed to be yet another weapon for the Knicks' plethora of point guards to pick from.
Wallace's ability to score the basketball is pleasant and appreciated. His true bread and butter, however, comes on the defensive end of things.
Wallace had once established himself as one of the better interior defenders in the league. He's a consistent shot-blocker who utilizes his long and well-built frame to keep opponents out of the lane.
His ability to trash talk the calm right out of an opponent certainly doesn't harm the Knicks' chances at success, either. It just means they'll find a new understanding of why Wallace is one of the most notorious technical foul recipients in NBA history.
Aside from the potential sacrificing of points, that makes Wallace exactly what the Knicks needed.
New York's favorite child needs to be tough. Due to the stage they play on and the city they are from, opponents always look to perform at their highest level when faced with the Knickerbockers. For that reason, the Knicks must be able to take some punches and throw a few back.
Who better to bring mental toughness to a team than 'Sheed?
Wallace will be of great importance due to his ability to bring a defensive-oriented approach behind the offensive-minded Amar'e Stoudemire. Alongside either Marcus Camby or Tyson Chandler, Wallace should help keep the Knicks playing at a high level while STAT rests.
Despite this great deal of optimism, we must acknowledge what is truth. For instance, the fact that this all hinges upon Wallace's ability to get in shape and return to form.
If he is able to become even a shell of the player he once was, however, Rasheed Wallace will be just what the New York Knicks need.
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