Sheed trying to keep Superman from lifting off
|11.20.09 at 1:27 pm ET|
Rasheed Wallace makes no bones about his game plan heading into tonight’s match-up with Dwight Howard the defending Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic.
Don’t let Superman take off.
“Step on his launch pad,” Wallace said of his strategy. “He’s a big fella, he can jump. If you step on his launch pad before he can take off and make it a hard shot for him, it’s a 50-50 chance. He going to come with the hook and little jumper, just take that 50-50 chance.”
But just because he wants to make life miserable on Howard’s big feet, don’t get the impression he doesn’t try and help Howard when the two aren’t combatants in the low post.
Wallace actually gives Howard advice on how to become even more of a force than he is now.
“He doesn’t try to brush me off,” Wallace said. “He listens. That’s coming from him being raised well by his mom and dad. I don’t think he’s arroagant. He’s still trying to learn. I think he’s just tipping the iceberg because all we’re seeing right now is him dunking and catching the alley-oops. If he decides to go into the gym and get that little 12-to-15 footer down and they establish a good pick-and-roll with the three guys they’ve got, him and Jameer or him and Rashard, I think they’ll be pretty good.”
So, does Wallace’s head coach think working with the enemy is unusual?
“No, because I think a lot of guys do that now,” Doc Rivers said. “It’s not the 80s. It’s peace and love.”
Wallace doesn’t limit his teaching to superstars. He works all the time with post players like Kendrick Perkins.
“I still do it with a lot of young players,” Wallace said. “I’ve been blessed to have some good teachers with my basketball knowledge. It’d be a waste if I don’t pass it on. I try to pass it on to a lot of young post players, guys who I see have some pretty good talent, some pretty good future potential.”
So when Perkins had 12 points in the first quarter on Wednesday night against Golden State, no one should have been surprised.
“That’s Perk,” Wallace said afterward. “I tell him every night. It starts with him because teams are going to play KG extra hard, they’re going to try and double KG. So, Perk is going to be our offensive guy. They don’t think Perk can play so I’m like, ‘Perk, go at them.’ Perk will probably come up with the first six, eight points of the game to get us going and it’s like that every night.”
“I think Rasheed mentors a lot of guys,” added Rivers. “He mentors officials all the time and he mentors players. He really does. I’ve said he has a terrific basketball IQ and he loves working with the bigs, he really does. He was on Perk [Wednesday] night about setting more picks and then rolling to the post and getting deep. He’s been around. He knows the game.”
When Perkins goes up against Howard tonight, just think of the role Wallace plays. Perkins will.
“He’s a physical guy,” Perkins said of Howard. “He likes to bang. I like to bang. I have trouble guarding quicker guys on the perimeter but guys who like to just play in the post and make contact, that’s what I like to do. With Dwight, you just have to try and limit his dunks, his easy catches. You have to play him like Shaq a little bit and play him over the top.”
That should make his mentor proud.
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