I was more than a little hesitant to embrace Rasheed Wallace. Ok, I'll go a step further. I openly lobbied to keep him out of Celtic green. I don't remember doing that for any other free agent. Here's what I had to say (in case you missed it).
I'm not a Rasheed Wallace fan. I don't like him. I respect what he's done in his career and I'm sure he'll be playing for someone next year, but I just hope it isn't the Celtics.
That was a month ago. Now I'm all for it. I'm on board. I'm excited about the Rasheed Wallace era. What happened? What changed my mind? Here are a few reasons, in no particular order.
- Ok, this is the biggest reason. I took the time to get to know Sheed better. I learned that while he's a really big jerk to the officials, he's extremely well liked by teammates and coaches. I learned that while he doesn't always play up to his potential, his potential is right off the charts. In short, he's the perfect guy to add to a team built on Ubuntu and driving for a championship.
- Maybe Sheed is a bit off-putting to many people on the basketball court. Does that sound like another big man on the Celtics that I'm head over heels for? Ok, maybe that describes two big men on the Celtics that I'm head over heels for. We might have the most hated big man rotation ever, and I'm starting to dig that.
- Short term commitment = going for it within the window of opportunity. If it were a longer term contract, I'd maybe get worried. But it isn't, so I'm not. The worst case is that we don't win anything, he detonates the locker room, and we have to start over from scratch. The best case is that we win it all the next two years and the Lakers get a big asterisk on their title called "what if KG was healthy in '09?" I can live with that. Either one is better than fading away quietly.
- Maybe Celtics fans will stop complaining about the officials because Sheed is taking care of it for them. ...yeah, right.
- It sounds like Grant Hill is coming to town too. Love this move. If you are going to go Old School, go all the way. You're my boy Blue! Let's go streaking!!!
- He fits. It has been pointed out before, but it bears repeating. Doc loves big men that can shoot and stretch the floor. Thibodeau loves bigs that have a great basketball IQ and know where to be on defense at all times. Done and done. He gives us a great 3 man rotation in the post. I'd still like to see another big signed or traded for, but we'll see what happens with Big Baby first.
- This was Plan A. I'm sure Ainge had contingency plans, but this was his first choice. That says something to me. I wasn't a fan of trading Al Jefferson for KG until I looked at it from all angles. It also helped that we got Ray Allen and the plan made more sense. Now I can see the method to the madness and I'm glad to see we didn't have to settle for 2nd best.
So the long and short of it is that I was a skeptic before and now I'm a believer. Of course seeing Rasheed buy in to us makes it a lot easier to buy into him. So I'm on board all the way. And if it doesn't work out well, ...hey, I can still say "I told you so."