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By Eleazer Gorenstein
Wallace is a fan favorite and the veritable bad boy we’ve all come to love. In some circles, he’s even considered to be an NBA icon. It’s not hard to understand why many players would want him on their bench. Here are five reasons why Rasheed Wallace would make an excellent NBA coach someday:
1) His commitment to teamwork: For someone with such tremendous NBA pedigree, Rasheed Wallace has humbly approached this season with a team-first attitude. While his minutes and role have significantly increased, his attitude is a sterling example of his will to do whatever it takes for his team to win, glamour be damned. It’s no secret that NBA coaches shy away from taking too much credit when the team wins, which ironically puts them in a position to absorb too much of the blame when the team loses. Call it intuition, but I think ‘Sheed can handle that predicament.
2) He has no fear: One would likely never characterize Wallace as bashful. While he clearly is not quite as temperamental this season as he was earlier in his career, his brash nature has manifested itself in his play. ‘Sheed hoists up nearly four 3-pointers per game, which is about two-thirds of his career-high of six 3-point attempts per game going back to 2003-04. Keep in mind, he was playing nearly three times the number of minutes then. In order to be a coach, especially in the demanding market of NBA franchises, fearlessness is a firm prerequisite.
3) His savvy nature: One well-documented reason that Wallace decided to come back from retirement was to show the young generation of players what old-school, low post play is supposed to look like. Although he seems to favor the 3-point shot, when ‘Sheed has had the opportunity to take defenders into the paint, he has displayed an impressive array of head-and-shoulder fakes, up-and-under moves and impeccable footwork. This confident mindset will serve him well as he contemplates how to make the tough substitutions late in games, and of course, in playing coy with the ever-curious and prying media.
4) He can motivate teammates: ‘Sheed has always played with a fire in his belly, evidenced by the more than 300 career technical fouls to his name. His passion is raw and it rubs off on other players. After the Knicks’ loss to the Grizzlies last month, Wallace revealed in the postgame interview how he was able to help his team focus during a tough stretch by delivering this message to his teammates: “We had to keep our heads in it, there were some things going on out there that not [some people] on our bench didn’t appreciate, but we had to play through it and do what we had to do to get back in the game.” Sometimes, listening to the words of a guy who’s been there before makes those words ring just a little bit clearer.
5) He’s well-liked and well-respected in the locker room: Teammates not only listen to what he has to say, but they enjoy being around him. Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson practically begged Rasheed to join a team that already had decidedly old legs. ‘Sheed’s ability to command respect in the locker room is the first step – and one that goes a long way – towards galvanizing a team and making sure they play to their potential.