Thursday, April 28, 2005


For the last two playoff games we've watched Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace become a scoring machine in the third quarter. He sensed that guards Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton were struggling with their shots.
So Wallace took over as Pistons gunner.
He poured in 29 the opening night and followed that with an efficient 15-point night in Game 2. He appears to be able to score whenever he wants.
So why isn't Rasheed Wallace a consistent scoring machine on a team that so often in the past needed a big time scoring machine?
The answer lies in Philadelphia where Wallace returns to play his first playoff game in his home town. The Pistons face the outmanned Sixers holding a 2-0 lead in this best of seven Eastern Conference laugher. Game 3 is Friday night and the series could conclude Sunday.
This is Wallace's home town. It is where he does plenty of charity work in the offseason. He spent time here with his family last summer after turning down a chance to play for Team USA in the Athens Olympics. Few people know the story, but Wallace told me several weeks ago that home, family and rest in the summer mean more to him than anything else.
"They asked me and I said no," Wallace said of his Olympic opportunity. "I value my time with my family. That is a two year commitment. The summer before the Olympics and then the actual games. That is a lot of time away from my family. I could not do that. And then two years of playing? As much pounding as we take on our bodies? No."
He also loves to return to Philadelphia.
And this is where we unlock the mystery of Rasheed Wallace the basketball player. He was taught at early age to share the basketball and look for ways to win and not make himself look better.
He played on talented high school and AAU teams where he often was not the first option despite wonderful talents.
Wallace was taught to read games. He knows he can do so many things on the court but his main focus is what does the team need, not what he wants. If he sees that Hamilton or Billups are shooting the lights out, then Wallace concentrates on rebounding, defending and passing.
If Ben Wallace is having an off night then Rasheed hits the boards more and helps out with interior defense.
Fans from Portland and Detroit have screamed for him to take over games offensively. They believe he is not asserting himself. He is simply being himself.
In a game where so many are so selfish, Rasheed Wallace is one of the most team oriented guys in the NBA.
"I learned that you accomplish more as a team than just play as one person," Wallace said. "Look at one of the best persons to ever play the game. Michael Jordan had tremendous talent, but he could not win a title without the other four guys on the court and his bench. So he had to set aside some personal accolades for the betterment of the team.
Plus growing up in Philadelphia I played with tremendous collegiate type players and we just played team ball all the time."
Wallace views himself as a piece of the puzzle, not the center of attention.
So if you are standing around waiting for him to demand the ball like so many in this league do, then you are in for a disappointment.
Then again if he senses teammates struggling with their shots, then that is when Rasheed Wallace turns gunner


Blogger Bruuuuuuce said...

I have great respect for team players. It's a nice thing to see in this day and age of 'look at ME!'. Great post Terry

9:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what Terry I like this format and it seems cathartic for you. As for Rashid, i think he got a bum rap. I also feel it is the Larry Factor as well. He allowed Rashid to be himself and not try and cow tie him. So I wonder what happens when Larry leaves ? Also one thing I noticed with Rashid even when he was with Portland he showed a team player attitude and none of his team mates ever called him out.

9:57 AM

Blogger Tom said...

The fact that Sheed is a team player with the Pistons, and not a scorer, gives the media and the NBA one more reason to ignore this team. I'd rather have the team player any day. The reason why Detroiters love Sheed is that he's a little dirty, and works hard. Just like Detroiters. When he got here, the fans ate that up and he became one of us. I'd take Sheed and his Techinical Fouls any day.

Sheed's attitude seems to be pervasive throughout the team. Everyone accepts that role. Any given night a player could step up and be the superstar, but they only do what they need to do to get the win. If one night Rip needs to be the passer, he racks up a dozen assists. If Sheed needs to be the rebounder, he pulls down the boards. Heck, even Ben has been known to score 20. And that is why this team will repeat.

Terry, keep the writing coming. I am estatic over being able to have this outlet for your work. Thanks!

10:55 PM

Anonymous Will said...

To state the obvious, without mister Sheed, The detroit Pistons would not have a championship, instead they would be stuck with a roster full of overrated, waste of skin players like Mehmet Okur. And would have struggled to make the playoffs this year.
Rasheed is by far the most TALENTED player on this team, if he wanted to, or was needed to, he would no doubt put 25-10 nights on a regular basis. Just the fact that he can play a different role every night makes him an amazing specimen. To toggle superstar talent on and off, is in another league all by itself.

Terry, I am so glad to finally be able to read some of your writing, I dont get the detroit news/press. so being able to come here to your blog and read some of your writing is a high point of my day. (sadly enough)

3:01 PM

Blogger T Foster said...

Hey guys.
I am glad you enjoy the blog. I just love to write. And I don't care if it is for a large audience or small. I have something I want to share. But of course you want as many people to read as possible. So spread the word to your sports friends. As far as when Larry Leaves I believe Joe Dumars should call the top coaches around -- including Phil Jackson. But that is a future blog. Stay tuned.

5:16 AM

Blogger Jonathon Combs said...

Hey, Great Stuff. I'll be back to read often.


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