NBA AM: Does Wallace Have Hall Of Fame Cred?
Ben Wallace Sets Record For Undrafted Players. Next Stop – The Hall of Fame?
The NBA draft is a perennial crapshoot with “sure things” turning into busts and long shots breaking through. But one area which typically holds true is the fact players selected late in the second round have far shorter careers than their first round counterparts.
The percentage of failure skyrockets even higher for athletes who don’t hear their names called on draft night and go undrafted.
However, there are exceptions to every rule.
One of the most notable exceptions in NBA history is Detroit Pistons center Ben Wallace, who played in his 1,055th career contest on Tuesday night and set the record for games for an undrafted player since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976-77.
Wallace moved past former San Antonio Spurs guard and current New Jersey Nets head coach Avery Johnson to claim the distinction.
The sixteen-year veteran has played for Washington, Boston, Orlando, Cleveland and Chicago but is best known for his time in Detroit, where he won four Defensive Player of the Year awards and an NBA championship in 2004.
It is the ultimate story of what hard work, dedication and performing when given an opportunity can do for guys who fly under the mainstream radar – a story which deserves maximum respect.
“You look at his story, that’s a great story,” Pistons head coach Lawrence Frank told Eric Lacy of the Detroit News. “The guy was a bedrock (of successful Pistons teams of the past). He’s a guy that you immediately identify with, in regard to those teams.”
The 37 year old Wallace, who is known primarily for his exploits on the defensive side of the floor, played collegiately at Virginia Union.
He ranks near the top of the historical list of players who hail from historically black colleges or universities such as Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Charles Oakley, Willis Reed, Earl Lloyd, Rick Mahorn, Lindsey Hunter, Avery Johnson, Darrell Armstrong and Sam Jones.
Wallace is set to retire at the end of this season, his decision is firm – win, lose or draw.
“No consideration coming back,” Wallace said. “This is definitely my last year.”
Naturally the talk of Wallace’s impending retirement also brings up the question of his Hall of Fame credentials and does he possess them.
If it were up to Wallace’s current coach, his enshrinement would be a lock.
“You look at what he’s done — he’s a champion, four-time defensive player of the year,” Frank said. “I think without a doubt he has credentials to be Hall of Fame worthy.”
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has admired Wallace from afar throughout his career and had nothing but praise for the veteran after he set the career games for undrafted players record against his team Tuesday night.
“It’s one of those things that coaches love to see,” Popovich told Jeff McDonald of San Antonio Express-News. “When you have a player that has to prove himself, and does it, and has a lengthy career like Ben’s had and Avery had. It really makes you feel like sometimes things get done for the right reasons, and luck’s got nothing to do with it. They worked their butts off.”
Career averages of 5.9 points and 9.8 rebounds may not excite the masses at the surface level but here is how his resume stacks up overall.
- Four-time All-Star selection (2003-06)
- Four-time Defensive Player of the Year (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006)
- Six-time All-Defensive Team selection
- Five-time All-NBA selection
- NBA title (2004)
- Two league rebounding titles (2002, 2003)
- Top 50 NBA all-time in career blocks and rebounds
In a day and age where offensive prowess dominates the nightly highlight reels, Wallace made a game-changing impact on the defensive end of the court – but is it enough to get enshrined?
What do you think? Does Wallace have Hall of Fame cred? Leave your comments below.
Bobcats’ Augustin Nearing Return: The Charlotte Bobcats are a woeful 3-25 to start the season and have lost a league worst fifteen straight games.
A big reason for the team’s latest funk has been the absence of their starting point guard, D.J. Augustin, who has missed eleven straight contests after being sidelined January 22 with an inflamed right big toe.
But the lottery bound Bobcats will be getting a big lineup boost this week as their floor general, second leading scorer and top playmaker is expected to return to the lineup.
“I’ll be ready to go,” Augustin told Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer on being ready for Wednesday’s clash against the Minnesota Timberwolves. “Excited to be playing, and I don’t want to be hurt again. Before I couldn’t push off my right foot, either offensively or defensively. [Tuesday] in practice I could play defense and drive to the goal and do what I do. It felt good. I need to have confidence – play like nothing is wrong with it,” Augustin said. “If I worry about it, I might do something to it.”
The fourth-year guard is averaging 13.6 points and 6.6 assists per game for the Bobcats and while most expect rookie guard Kemba Walker to eventually supplant him in the team’s starting lineup head coach Paul Silas makes it clear who the team’s top playmaker is – right now.
“He’s a great shooter – if he’s open, he has a better than 50-50 chance of making a shot. But (as far as) running the ball club, we really didn’t have anybody looking for the assists and getting us into what we need to run” in Augustin’s absence, Silas said. “I was very seldom calling plays. He was calling them, himself.”
With the Bobcats reeling, the strategy doesn’t seem to be leaning toward slowly getting Augustin’s legs back under him after a nearly a month of missed court time. It appears Silas is going to start him from the jump and look to play him big minutes.
“He’s the kind of kid where I probably could just let him go and start him,” Silas said. “I’m leaning toward starting him, yes. I’m considering it.”
The future of the Bobcats’ backcourt is in all likelihood Walker’s to lose. In 16 starts this season the former UCONN standout has been posting 14.4 points and 4.9 assists, but is also shooting just 35 percent from the floor.
For now, the best chance the Bobcats have to getting into the winning column more lies in the hands of Augustin.
Brockman Inks Endorsement Deal With Intrepid Sportswear: Milwaukee Bucks power forward Jon Brockman has signed a one-year deal to represent Seattle based Intrepid Sportswear.
Brockman, a Washington native, officially becomes the company’s first athlete endorser with the signing.
“I’m excited about this opportunity with Intrepid Sportswear because it combines two of the things I am most passionate about: my hometown and basketball,” said Brockman. “I appreciate being able to support young and promising companies like Intrepid and look forward to great things in 2012.”
With Bucks’ starting center Andrew Bogut out of the lineup for the next 2-3 months due to injury, Brockman has seen an increase in on court time over the past few weeks.
The former University of Washington standout ranks second on the school’s all-time list in scoring and first in rebounds.
“As a company based in the Pacific Northwest, we are thrilled to have a local hometown hero represent our brand,” said Rob Grabow, founder and president of Intrepid Sportswear. “Jon Brockman’s legendary style of hardnosed hustle and all-out play captures perfectly what it means to be intrepid.”
Brockman’s print and online magazine material debuts this week in the February 2012 issue of SLAM Magazine. The campaign with Brockman will also include online ads to appear on sports-related sites such as MaxPreps.com, HoopsU.com, and the NABC.com.
To find out more about Intrepid Sportswear, follow this link.
Eric Gordon Wants To Remain In New Orleans, Long Term? When the New Orleans Hornets traded All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers before the season one of the main sticking points before it became official was that the deal had to include high scoring guard Eric Gordon.
In Gordon the Hornets received a legit upper tier scorer who has the potential to develop into a franchise cornerstone.
But will he be around long enough for it to materialize?
New Orleans offered Gordon a four-year extension (for 2008 rookie class members) earlier this season but the parties were unable to come to terms on a deal before the January deadline expired.
This led to speculation Gordon wasn’t interested in the Hornets organization long term.
Team officials have routinely stated Gordon is part of their future and fully expect the sides to continue at the negotiating table after the season concludes. One advantage the Hornets have is they’ll be able to offer Gordon more money than any other franchise under the new collective bargaining agreement.
“Eric is obviously a big part of what we want to do and where we’re going and I get the scrutiny of his prolonged absence, Hornets head coach Monty Williams told NBA.com. “I would hope that we would look at his heart and his intention and who he is. His track record is pretty good. I’m just excited or hopeful that we could get him back. Eric is dying to get back on the floor because of where he is in his career, being young and the future of our franchise.”
The relationship has gotten off to a slow start with Gordon only playing two games this season due to a nagging knee issue and is now projected to be out another 6-8 weeks after undergoing surgery to correct the problem.
“I’m not a doctor and I’m not going to play one right now,” Williams said. “From the information I was given, the surgery was a success. Obviously they felt like they had to clean it out to make sure everything is headed in the right direction.”
The Hornets are 4-22 without Gordon in the lineup in their first season post Chris Paul. Failing to re-sign him at the end of the season would be a huge blow for the franchise who gave up a legitimate MVP candidate to receive his services in return.
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