Andre Iguodala Says Rasheed Wallace Would Be 'Better' Than Giannis in Current NBA

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 12, 2022

Detroit Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace plays against the Golden State Warriors in the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Auburn Hills, Mich., Friday, March 6, 2009. Detroit won 108-91. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Andre Iguodala believes Rasheed Wallace would have been a perfect fit for the modern NBA, saying he'd have ranked among the league's best players, even ahead of Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, a two-time MVP.

Iguodala, who's a free agent after winning his fourth NBA title with the Golden State Warriors in June, explained his view of Wallace, a four-time All-Star who retired in 2013, during an appearance Sunday on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz (via TMZ Sports).

"Rasheed Wallace probably could have been a top-five player in the league for a 10-year stretch," Iguodala said. "He was shooting half-court shots left-handed and right-handed. If Rasheed Wallace played in modern-day basketball, if he played in our league today, he’d be a top-five player in the league. He’d be better than Giannis, and I love Giannis."

It's fair to argue Wallace was just a little bit ahead of his time as a do-it-all power forward with the ability to stretch the floor offensively and the athleticism to guard multiple positions at the defensive end.

A first-round pick out of UNC in 1995, he went on to play for the Washington Bullets, Portland Trail Blazers, Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics and New York Knicks during a 16-year NBA career.

He ranks 68th on the all-time list in VORP (value over replacement player) and 80th in Win Shares, according to Basketball Reference. Those are standout numbers for someone rarely mentioned when discussing the best players of recent generations.

Wallace always marched to the beat of his own drum—Iguodala noted how the 2004 NBA champ opted to "do [his] thing" rather than focus on becoming an all-time great—but his numbers and skill set do suggest he would have starred in today's NBA.

That said, saying he'd be better than Giannis may be a bit of a stretch.

Antetokounmpo has put himself on a trajectory to end up as one of the best basketball players to ever step on the floor, highlighted by helping the Bucks win the 2021 NBA title without having a stable of fellow superstars around him.

Along with the championship and his two MVPs, he's also earned six All-Star selections and a NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award along with numerous other individual accolades, and he's still just 27 years old.

So this is a case where pointing out how Wallace probably deserves more recognition is fair, but Iguodala may have gone a little overboard in projecting exactly how good Sheed could be in today's game.

Giannis is pushing himself toward a tier very few have reached.