Just as you would expect, Rasheed Wallace entered MSG Training Center on Wednesday with a straight forward approach to basketball and his return to the floor after a two-year hiatus from the game.
“Wherever coach needs me at, if it’s two minutes then I’m out there for those two minutes going hard,” Wallace stressed. “If it’s 10 or 15 minutes, then I’m out there going hard for those certain amount of minutes he has me out there. I’m not one to complain, I know I’m not the No. 1 guy here and I’m willing to accept my role with me being a veteran player, I know what my role would be.”
The 2004 NBA Champion reunites with former Pistons assistant coach Mike Woodson while providing another experienced frontcourt asset for the Knicks. Wallace felt his playing days were over following a 2009-10 stint with the Boston Celtics but as he stated, timing is everything. After several conversations with Woodson, the 7-footer felt the perfect situation arose in NYC and his desire to jump back on the floor seemed quite evident on Wednesday.
“I was getting excited playing summer league games, I was getting excited working one-on-one with the guys down in Chapel Hill playing summer ball with them. I get excited going out in the driveway playing with my boys,” Wallace explained.
Woodson and Wallace obviously share a strong bond from their time in Detroit. Wallace spoke highly of his former and now current head coach, especially his calm demeanor and ability to “quite the storm”. During his tenure with the Pistons, Wallace was a force on the defensive side of the floor, allowing Ben Wallace to roam the paint and become a defensive star in his own right. Offensively, the big man can stretch the opposing defensive by knocking down long range shots from the perimeter.
The Knicks now feature three players that own championship rings and a whole group of men with significant playoff experience. Wallace believes New York is right in the thick of the title hunt. He also wants the squad to focus on its goals rather than chat about the reigning champs in South Beach.
“From what I’m thinking, it’s not about the Heat, it’s about us,” Wallace reiterated. “We are trying to go after that golden ball and I definitely think they have an opportunity to do that. From what I’ve seen over the last few weeks, there is good guard play, we have a about four or five 7-footers, so it’s going to hard to beat us.”