Celtics, for the last time: Gerald Wallace
|10.29.13 at 11:23 am ET|
One of the most unpredictable Celtics seasons in recent memory begins Wednesday, and in order to determine the likelihood of each player reaching his full potential, we’ll be examining them individually in this year’s Green Street preview with one form of this question in mind: “When’s the last time ‘¦ ?” Next up: Gerald Wallace.
When’s the last time a declining over-30 former All-Star enjoyed a career resurgence?
In 2010, Gerald Wallace averaged 18.2 points (48.4 FG%), 10.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks for a seemingly lottery-bound Bobcats team that won 44 games and made the only playoff appearance in franchise history. Likewise, he received his first invitation to an All-Star Game for his efforts.
In the three years since, Wallace’s production steadily declined to last year’s line of 7.7 points (39.7 FG%), 4.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 0.7 blocks. Hence, the three trades of a former All-Star by his 31st birthday.
Still, Wallace’s “110 percent” effort, proclivity for demanding the same of his teammates, change of scenery from a Brooklyn playing style that didn’t suit his game and arrival to a team in desperate need of production might just be the perfect storm of opportunity he needed to reclaim his All-Star status.
In the past 40 years, however, only one player had at least three years and his 30th birthday pass between his first and second All-Star appearances. His name is Manu Ginobili, and he wasn’t in decline between All-Star campaigns in 2005 and 2011. (How Ginobili was snubbed in 2008 is a story for a different blog.)
The only real comparison to Wallace here is Archie Clark, who earned an All-Star invite on the Lakers in 1968, got shipped to the 76ers in the Wilt Chamberlain deal the next season, saw his numbers dip during his first year in Philadelphia and played his way back to an All-Star Game upon being traded to the Baltimore Bullets in 1972.
Only 10 other players made their second All-Star appearance more than three years after their first, including Antoine Walker and Tommy Heinsohn, but all of them did so before age 30. Both Rashard Lewis and Reggie Miller achieved the feat at age 29, and Miller made five trips in all. Larry Nance is the most interesting case. He made his first All-Star bid in 1985, his second on his 30th birthday in 1989 and his third at age 34 in 1993.
In other words, it’s probably best to set realistic expectations for just how far Wallace can resurge.
Click on the links below to check out the “When’s the last time ‘¦ ?” questions for other Celtics.