Are we seeing a different side to the sometimes cantankerous Gerald Wallace? Last year he was very vocal in his displeasure with the effort the team put forth early in the season. He was saying true and accurate things but some (including me) cringed at the very public delivery of his intended leadership. There were questions about his fit on a rebuilding team and how happy he could be in this situation.
If you listen to him now, however, and you hear someone almost zen-like in his serenity.
"I don't want to go nowhere else."
"I still have that bug to be out there. But if I play, I play. If I don't, I don't."
Interesting. Of course, all of this is happening before the games begin. He said positive things around this time last year too. Then he saw the team play.
Still, it sure sounds like he's found peace with where he is in his career. He's talking about retirement (in "two or three years"). He's talking about watching the younger players develop. He's talking about being a "coach-slash-player."
In particular, it sounds like he's started working on Jeff Green.
"I’ve made a great relationship with Jeff," Wallace said. "And like I told him, ‘I’m going to be on you all year long.’ "For this to be a successful season for me would be for him to go to the All-Star Game. That’s one of the things that I’ve been pushing. Me and him have been talking about it. I’ve been trying to give him ideas and things he can do to improve his game out on the court. "It’s not so much his scoring, but some of the smaller things, you know, getting more rebounds and being more effective on the defensive end. There are things he can do to become a more all-around complete player."
As Bulpett points out, can you imagine a player with Jeff Green's skillset and Gerald Wallace's drive and all-out aggressive approach? I don't think you can really teach that kind of attitude that Crash has had his whole career, but I think some of it can rub off and be picked up.
Green will be sharing a floor with Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley, a couple of all-out effort guys that might rub off on him with the right coaching and encouragement.
Bottom line: If Gerald Wallace can be even a minor help in getting Jeff Green to the All Star game, his contract might seem a bit easier to swallow (especially considering the new TV deal that might give all NBA teams a boatload of cap space next summer).