Portland Trail Blazers: Gerald Wallace Is Set Free To Be a Predator

Jason HarrelContributor IIIDecember 26, 2011

PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 23:  Gerald Wallace #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers defends Jason Kidd #2 of the Dallas Mavericks in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 23, 2011 at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon. 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 Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

The NBA season is finally upon us! After having the first set of games on Christmas day, we will now get to see our heroes, our champions, our idols show us once again just what they were born to do.  

As every basketball fan settles down on the couch to watch their favorite team, I learn some great news that every Portland Trail Blazer fan should be excited to learn. Gerald Wallace has been given the green light to be set loose.  

I say that he has been let loose to do his thing because Portland fans know him as “crash”. This name comes to him due to his fearless and relentless playing style that not only keeps him in standard positions, but regularly shows him sprawled on the court or face-planted in the front row of NBA arenas going after a loose ball. 

Wallace’s flowing locks and body of a top notch NBA player lets him be one of the top Blazers for the 2011-12 season, and one of the starters for tonight’s season opener against the Philadelphia 76ers. We will just have to watch what the “predator” can do on the open court, and shall I say, who he will hunt for. 

After going through 29 regular season and playoff games for the team last year, and 17 days of training camp, head coach Nate McMillan says he has learned the best way to showcase Wallace’s individualistic blend of toughness and ability to play the game the right way. 

As a big Wallace fan it will be nice to see him get his chance to show the City of Roses and the organization just what he is capable of doing. You just have to let the man play in my opinion and things will come together. However, on Wallace’s side of the court he has to know that he will have all eyes on him, and he will have to overcome those eyes and play the game that he has played so well over the years, and well, just GO. 

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 08:  Mike Miller #13 of the Miami Heat drives on  Gerald Wallace #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers during a game at American Airlines Arena on March 8, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

So with McMillan being willing to live with his gamble of seeing what Wallace can do on the open court, he will just have to see the natural flow of the offense work as the play gets shifted in his favor.  

There are no set plays ready for Wallace being part of the starting five, but the team and coaches feel confident that Wallace and other four players on the court at the time will find ways to include Wallace to drive to the basket. 

Much of the Blazers’ success this season looks to be determined by how far star player and power forward LaMarcus Aldridge takes them. How point guard Raymond Felton pushes the team and how much the oldest center tag team in the NBA can give the team. But what about Wallace? He will be included in there. 

As Wallace joined the team midway through last year, he quickly became the X-factor for the Blazers' success. With his toughness and energy he looked to stand out and lead the team in his own fashion.  

Last season when the Blazers gave Wallace a chance to show what he could do, he gave them a taste of the havoc he can cause. Wallace gave the team 15.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 steals. This helped an injury-prone team qualify for the playoffs two years in a row.  

In the Blazers’ exhibition opener, Wallace was seen all over the place, diving to the floor in midcourt to create a jump ball and crashing into the front row along the baseline. He finished the game with 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals in 27 minutes that changed the game dramatically. 

As Aldridge returned to the court in the second exhibition game, Wallace was moved from power forward to the small forward position. Wallace could not find his feet like he did in the first game. He was nowhere to be found until the fourth quarter when he eventually made things happen.  

The exhibition schedule is behind us and we know that the season is here for real and we know Wallace is starting. Will this give us the Wallace we saw last season and in the first exhibition game? Will it give us a new fan favorite on top of his following he has currently? We will just have to wait as the starting five step out onto the court and do what they are known to do and that is win.