Rasheed Wallace was hired by the Detroit Pistons as an assistant coach this offseason after he announced his retirement as a player for the second time. Wallace, who turned 39 today (happy birthday, ‘Sheed!), won an NBA title with the Pistons back in 2004.
Wallace expressed a passion for the game during his playing days that was often unrivaled. Whether he was knocking down a game-changing three and letting the defender know about it, or hollering his patented, “Ball don’t lie!,” while expressing his displeasure for a bad call at the free throw line: ‘Sheed always wore his heart on his sleeve.
With his playing days behind him, Wallace is now channeling that same passion into his new role as Pistons’ assistant coach, and he’s already making his impact felt with second-year center Andre Drummond.
The Detroit News reported that Wallace has Drummond working on his back-to-the-basket moves. Drummond said that he’s “just getting comfortable with it,” and knows he has “to be able to step out and take a 15-foot jump shot.”
Wallace was one of the best power forwards of all-time when it came to stepping out and nailing a mid-range or three-point shot. I don’t expect Drummond to take his talents anywhere near the three-point line (and he shouldn’t) but adding a reliable 15-foot jumper will only put added pressure on opposing defenses.
It’s also obvious that forwards Greg Monroe and Josh Smith work primarily from the block, so Drummond extending his range would only be a positive for the Pistons’ offensive attack.
Drummond should be elated at the idea of having Wallace as a coach and mentor. Wallace has uber credibility for his many years of service in the NBA trenches and has a brilliant mind for the game.
Any avid basketball fan would tell you to look past all of Wallace’s technical fouls and utterly perplexing outbursts of stupidity and would express nothing but praise for his immense and unique talent from the power forward position.
Those immense and unique talents are what Wallace is passing on to the potential-laden Drummond.
In addition to the endless supply of ‘Sheed post moves and the mid-range jumper, I’m sure Wallace has been teaching the young fella’ his beautiful drop step, high release fadeaway and let’s be real here…a whole mountain of trash talk.
I expect a lot of Wallace to be channeled into the young Drummond. The contagious qualities of Wallace’s passion for the game should formulate into the mind and game of Drummond and the whole Pistons’ squad in general. Although Wallace’s mental approach to the game was often criticized throughout his career (he essentially underachieved statistically when one pondered the actual amount of infinite talent he had), his other intangibles will suit his career as a coach perfectly.
Drummond is already advanced physically and athletically for his age, now add a coach who will drastically improve his jump shot, post moves and overall basketball IQ. Drummond will thrive under the guidance of Coach ‘Sheed and see his game blossom into an all-around, unguardable, All-Star colossus.
Watch out, ladies and gentleman, the Detroit Pistons have something potentially franchise changing brewing.