5 Reasons Rasheed Wallace Is a Genius Basketball Coach in the Making
Wallace attempted a comeback last season with the New York Knicks, playing just 21 games during an injury-plagued run.
He's the second member of last year's Knicks team to suit up and start coaching, joining Jason Kidd who became the Brooklyn Nets' head coach back in June.
According to Wallace, the Knicks offered him a job on their staff following last season, but the Pistons gave him the opportunity to join their staff, plus it gave him a chance to be around his children, who live near Detroit.
It's a reunion for Wallace and Cheeks, who coached the big man between 2001 until his departure from the Pistons in 2003.
He may have been a hot head as a player, but Cheeks seems confident Wallace will make the transition from player to coach nicely. Cheeks said of Wallace:
He can make that transition. A lot of us, we didn't start out being a certain way we are right now. But change evolves you, and he's evolved. He realizes he's in the second phase of his life now. And now he's a coach. He has to make that transition, and I think he'll be fine.
Wallace actually joined the Pistons Monday afternoon for their summer league game against the Boston Celtics.
5. Another Branch on the Coaching Tree?
During that time he played for Mo Cheeks and Flip Saunders, two solid head coaches. However, he also played under a coach already in the Basketball Hall of Fame and another who is on his way there one day.
For two seasons he played under Larry Brown, winning an NBA championship with the Detroit Pistons back in 2004.
Later on in his career, once he had settled in as a role player, he spent a season under Doc Rivers as the Boston Celtics made it to the NBA Finals in 2010.
Obviously it's not enough to play under a great head coach in order to become one yourself, but Brown has a great reputation as a molder of minds.
Brown worked in some capacity with Bill Self, Alvin Gentry, R.C. Buford, Gregg Popovich, John Calipari, and he coached Danny Manning, Kevin Pritchard, Mark Turgeon and Tad Boyle, all of whom became head coaches or worked in NBA front offices.
4. The Basketball Gods
Why would someone like Rasheed Wallace last 16 seasons in the NBA? Because we need him, and the basketball gods realize that.
For nearly two decades Wallace was high entertainment for us, whether it be earning endless technical fouls, berating referees, jacking ill-advised three-pointers, shouting, screaming, poking, prodding and entertaining with every move he made.
It's why the Boston Celtics were silly enough to give him a three-year contract back in 2009, and it's why the Knicks, searching every corner of the globe for guys who would play for the veteran minimum, snagged him from the jaws of retirement last October.
There's no explaining it, but Wallace is like a mosquito bite that just won't go away. It's bothersome and genuinely annoying at times, but damn if it doesn't feel good to give it a good scratch every once in a while.
Wallace scratches that annoying itch for us, and the basketball gods, kind as they are, realize that.
We're not ready for an NBA without Rasheed, just as we weren't ready for an NBA without Michael Jordan back in 1994, or an NBA without Jeff Van Gundy when he left coaching for commentating.
I'm not a very spiritual guy, but it's fate that Wallace sticks around, if only to wear baggy suits and yell at referees as an assistant coach.
Watching a single game involving Rasheed Wallace during his prime will bring up giddy feelings, even if it's just because of a single moment where his temper got out of control, or when he stared down an opponent just a bit too long.
When he's on the court, Wallace takes basketball just a little bit too seriously.
Sure, he may have come to training camp a bit out of shape from time to time, and putting together an actual game plan in the wee hours of the morning might be a problem, but isn't that what they make assistant coaches for?
It's that intensity that earned him roughly 84,203 technical fouls throughout his career, and it's also the reason he worked well with the Pistons.
While he may have been a passive lump at times on offense, he always wanted to show up the guy he was guarding.
Thanks to Ben Wallace he was able to get the most out of that over-aggressive, sometimes annoying style of play.
It's a mentality that would transfer well into a coaching job, just as long as his temper gets longer and his head cools a tad.
2. Those Post Moves
Given his history of jacking up three-pointers and shrugging off hard work in the post, most people don't look at Rasheed Wallace as an offensive guru, at least as far as work in the post is concerned.
Even as an old man with the Knicks, Wallace had his moments of brilliance in the low post, most notably in a game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
If he were in any kind of shape and if his body hadn't completely given up on him, that would have actually been an excellent signing for New York.
Wallace's work in the post generally came out more often during the playoffs, as he would reveal his prowess when it was most important and utterly dominate the other big dudes trying to slow him down.
With so few players coming into the NBA with the ability to make more than one or two moves with their back to the basket, Wallace could be an asset to any team looking to teach their big men a few extra moves.
As it so happens, Detroit has just that with Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe.
1. He's the Ideal 'Stretch 4'
One thing that Wallace turned into when he was getting to his prime years was a stretch-4 (half out of laziness, half out of necessity) before there ever was such a thing.
Wallace had a silky-smooth jumper combined with a flurry of low-post moves that would allow him to get on hot streaks and turn defenses inside-out.
Of course, the problem with Wallace was always that he wanted to stretch things out just a little bit too much, settling for three-pointers (which he was average at knocking down in his best seasons), rather than landing in the 17-foot range and sending the offense spacing out around him.
Nevertheless, Rasheed played a position that was extremely important in the flow of an offense, setting pin-down screens for shooters, running the pick-and-pop with the ball-handler and playing an inside-outside game with the center (more so Mehmet Okur than Ben Wallace).
Beyond that, the modern-day stretch-4 has to work as the pivot did back in the early days, deciding to shoot, get the ball fizzing around the perimeter, engaging his defender or reversing it back out to the ball-handler.
In his day, Wallace was the perfect player to squish that system around, even making the Pistons offense look downright passable at times.
He's got the tools, and now all he needs is the right mindset to take off his headband and put on a necktie.