The Knicks have made another surprising offseason acquisition by signing the wild and talented Rasheed Wallace. The team needed a PF/C who would not complain about lack of playing time, get along with his teammates, be content with the league minimum salary (all of which would have been a concern with Kenyon Martin), defend, rebound, lead, and be a vocal veteran presence. With Sheed, they got just that.
Several issues must be addressed first. Sheed is out of shape due to being retired for 2 years and will use training camp, preseason and the early part of the season to get in shape. He has won a title so what is it that is driving him to make a return? It definitely isn’t money.
My guess is that he wants to be around fellow veterans who are in win-now mode. The NBA is a fraternity and he has much respect for his veteran peers like Tyson Chandler, Kurt Thomas, Jason Kidd, and Marcus Camby (in fact he’s younger than the latter three players).
As reported by Ian Begley of ESPN, Chandler couldn’t hold back his excitement. ”I hope he stays. I don’t know what the situation is but he’s a great communicator on defense and we know he can knock down the open 3 and the jump shot,” Chandler said. He also added that Sheed “looked good.”
The “ace in the hole” that lured him to the bright lights of NY is probably coach Mike Woodson, who was an assistant coach during their championship run together in Detroit.
The good thing is he will not be expected to play more than 20 mpg. Carmelo Anthony is expected to see a lot of minutes at PF when the team wants to go small, which is arguably his greatest strength. Sheed will just be asked to spot Amare Stoudemire when he needs a breather or fill in if he gets injured.
His strengths: strong post defense, solid in the high and low post, range extending well beyond the 3pt line, unselfishness, great teammate, and has championship experience.
His weaknesses: age, conditioning, and temper (but in limited minutes these issues will be curbed. As far as conditioning, he is just not in game-shape, but there are recent online videos of him doing difficult dunks in summer play).
Look out Knicks fans, we’re in for a long and fun ride in 2012.
(watch the following video to see why we need someone like this to go deep into the playoffs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nvtPGwpNoY)