I was pointed to this article in ESPN the Mag by wahz. It is a very good read and I think portrays Rasheed Wallace in a fair light. I recommend reading the whole thing but here are some highlights:
"He has all the makings of a great coach. He sees things before they happen." Bill Guthridge, who was an assistant at North Carolina when Wallace came through, sees it too. "He absorbed everything. He'd be listening even if what was said wasn't directed at him. He had great savvy—almost a point guard savvy." Even an opposing coach, Stan Van Gundy, agrees. "He's extremely smart, ahead of every play. He doesn't miss helps or rotations. He knows when it's time to shoot and time to pass. I've never understood why he isn't a perennial All-Star."
Here are some more quotes from the story:
- Chauncey Billups once told Jim Rome that Wallace "is so good he gets bored playing against some guys who aren't up to his level."
- Ellerbee says he once warned him never to leave the post. "If I was his coach, I'd demand more. More rebounds, more blocked shots. We need a center, not the other crap." Sheed himself admits, "I wish I would have listened to him."
- But while he doesn't pamper or pimp himself, he is obsessed with children and charity.
- If only that Sheed—happy, almost blissful, the way he is during his traditional pregame dance in the huddle—were the only Sheed. Instead, that guy is often wrestled into submission by another who looks hard for conspiracy.
- Most athletes seek praise and recognition; Wallace loathes both.
- Fact is, Wallace should be a Hall of Famer, but it's not in him to dominate—to be the once-in-a-generation star his talent supports.
Also, in looking for pictures to go with this post, I stumbled upon this article from 2008 comparing KG and Sheed. Some interesting comments from a scout:
"Rasheed is a wild card,'' an Eastern Conference scout said. "He has a wider range of skills than Garnett, and actually I think he's as skilled as anyone in our league. He has more range on his outside shot. In the low post, there's no comparison. The numbers might not show it, but I think he's just as good if not better as a passer -- it's just that Garnett's teams play through him and Rasheed's teams go to him. I give Garnett the edge in consistency of rebounding and defense, but they're both good defenders at their position.
"But it's a mental game for Rasheed to stay focused and involved for 48 minutes, though that's less of a problem with him in the playoffs.''
Garnett and Wallace both have those skillet foreheads -- you could fry an egg on either of them, given the heat of their emotions. What separates them in that category is when and how the emotions emerge. With the former, it is passion and intensity, evident even before tip-off in his head-pounding, resin-tossing ritual that loads and cocks his game like a boxer smacking himself a time or two with those 12-ounce mittens. With the latter, it is temper and fury, which swells up usually in response to a whistle blown or unblown by some non-combatant who nonetheless wields authority over everything Wallace does.
That, as much as anything, is why Garnett will head to Springfield, Mass., and the Naismith Hall of Fame five years after he's done, while Wallace might slip into the anonymity he has seemed to crave so often in his career.