|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.
|Gerald Wallace, Vitor Faverani nursing injuries||10.25.13 at 10:12 am ET|
Despite Brad Stevens‘ assurance that Rajon Rondo is the lone Celtics player who won’t be available for Wednesday’s opener, both Gerald Wallace and Vitor Faverani reportedly missed Thursday’s practice for “preventative” measures.
Dressed in a Patriots sweatshirt and a walking boot, Wallace told reporters after practice that he received a cortisone shot in a left ankle that’s bothered him “all summer long.”
Meanwhile, Faverani will consult with doctors on Friday after undergoing an MRI for a sore lower back, according to ESPN.com’s Chris Forsberg. Faverani’s back reportedly stiffened during warmups prior to totaling 15 points, seven boards and six blocks over 28 minutes in a preseason victory against the Nets.
Still, Stevens assured the media, “It’s all very preventative.”
Meanwhile, Jared Sullinger returned to practice after missing Wednesday’s game due to illness.
The Celtics are expected to announce the release of training camp invitees Damen Bell-Holter, DeShawn Sims and Kammron Taylor shortly. The fourth invitee, Chris Babb, is still practicing with the team, but he’s doubtful to make the final roster because of the salary cap predicament his signing would create.
|Stat man: More of this Celtics lineup, please||10.23.13 at 12:17 pm ET|
After Celtics coach Brad Stevens finally granted Jeff Green and Gerald Wallace extended playing time together, the media immediately jumped on its perceived success following Sunday’s preseason loss to the Timberwolves.
“I’d have to look at the overall numbers on it, but I thought we were pretty good in that stretch — both in the first and second half,” Stevens told reporters in the immediate aftermath. “We played them together some in the first half, when we played big on the wings, and we played them some together at the start of the second half. It’s probably a 10- or 12-minute clip of that. And, based on how it went tonight, I would say that you’ll probably see that again.”
It was actually a 14:34 clip of the highly anticipated Green-Wallace combo, and it started wonderfully. The two combined for 14 points on 5-for-5 shooting over a 4:23 stretch in the first quarter, adding two assists, two rebounds, a steal and a block during a span that trimmed Minnesota’s lead from 11 to four.
Beyond that? Not so much. They combined for a total of 8:11 during the second and fourth quarters, scoring seven points on 1-of-7 shooting to go along with three boards, two assists, two turnovers and a steal for a minus-2 rating.
|Gerald Wallace loves calling out his teammates||10.22.13 at 5:11 pm ET|
After the Celtics lost their sixth game in seven preseason tries, Gerald Wallace wasn’t a happy camper.
“We’re not playing with effort,” Wallace told reporters after Sunday’s defeat. “Guys are out there being selfish.”
Well, isn’t that nice. Despite skipping the introductory press conference upon being traded to the Celtics, reporting last to the team’s offseason workouts and then explaining on Media Day, “You never want to go to a team that’s starting a rebuilding process,” Wallace actually cares about the C’s performance this season. By all accounts, he’s a “110 percent” guy, offering Kevin Garnett-esque effort regardless of practice, preseason or actual NBA action.
As such, he’s comfortable questioning anybody’s lack of effort. Of course, that works when your an established Hall of Famer on a title contender. It may not go over so well when you rip a young team adjusting to a new coach.
I enjoyed Wallace’s explanation Tuesday: “It’s nothing critical toward my teammates. It’s for the whole team.” Well, then, that’s better. It’s not just one or two guys. It’s everyone. Except Wallace. And apparently Jeff Green?
|The complicated Gerald Wallace-Tom Brady-David Ortiz man love triangle||10.14.13 at 1:01 pm ET|
New Celtics forward Gerald Wallace‘s introduction to the Boston media last month came complete with an awkward explanation of his man crushes on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Red Sox slugger David Ortiz.
“I’m actually happy to be here in Boston. I’ve always loved the city of Boston when I came. And, besides, I’m a Red Sox and Patriots fan, so I’m closer to my teams. … I’m from Alabama. We don’t have a professional team there. I like Big Papi. I’ve always followed Big Papi. I enjoyed watching him in those days. That’s how I became a Red Sox fan. And I’m just fascinated with Brady. I like watching Brady play. I’m a big, big Brady fan since he got started in the league. I’ve been following him since Day 1. Him and Coach Belichick. Those are my favorite teams. Actually, at my house I have a split Patriots and Red Sox room. Basically shoes, material things. I have a couple Brady jerseys, a couple pictures of Brady, Belichick, the championship teams, a couple of the Super Bowl pictures, a lot of the Red Sox World Series things, I have an autographed bat from Ortiz, just some memorabilia.”
OK, then. That went from, “Oh, he’s just saying that to endear himself to Boston sports fans,” to, “Holy crap, this guy has a room dedicated to Tom Brady and David Ortiz in his house,” real fast. For those of you wondering at home, Wallace is 31 years old. And a professional basketball player. I don’t want to say Sunday should have been the best day of Gerald’s life, but Sunday should have definitely been the best day of Gerald’s life.
Especially considering Wallace attended the Patriots-Saints game and met Brady before his man crush completed one of his most improbable comebacks in a career filled with improbable comebacks. Here’s picture proof.
|Stat man: The Jared Sullinger-Kelly Olynyk combo||10.08.13 at 10:29 am ET|
The debut of the much anticipated Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk frontcourt combination — one to which Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge even admitted his intrigue — didn’t come until midway through the second quarter of the team’s first preseason game. And even then only lasted 8:29 in spurts.
Based on the early returns, we’ll be seeing a lot more of the Sully-O clinic early and often. Actually, don’t be surprised if that duo with 45 NBA games between them ultimately takes over the starting 4 and 5 spots.
“I don’t have a plus/minus report right now, so I don’t know,” said coach Brad Stevens after his first game on the Celtics sidelines, a 97-89 loss to the Raptors, “but I thought they played pretty well together.”
When Stevens took a look at that report and watched film later Monday night — his self-imposed requirement before sleeping — he discovered this: Olynyk and Sullinger owned a plus-7 rating, combining for 10 points (4-8 FG), four assists and three rebounds in their 8:29 on the floor together. Of the nine Celtics field goals in those 509 seconds, the rookie and the sophomore either scored or assisted on seven of them.
When Stevens added Gerald Wallace to that frontcourt mix — forming a complementary trio of flair, hair and derriere that the coach has praised throughout training camp — the production was unmistakable.
|Poll: What do you think of the 2-game suspension of Rajon Rondo?||11.29.12 at 5:53 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Rajon Rondo has been suspended two games without pay (approximately $268,000) for fighting with Brooklyn’s Kris Humphries during the second quarter of the Nets’ 95-83 victory over the Celtics at TD Garden on Wednesday. Additionally, Brooklyn’s Gerald Wallace has been fined $35,000 and Boston’s Kevin Garnett has been fined $25,000 for escalating the altercation. The penalties were announced Thursday by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
Rondo will serve his suspension on Friday, Nov. 30 when the Celtics host the Portland Trail Blazers and Saturday, Dec. 1 when the Celtics play the Milwaukee Bucks at BMO Harris Bradley Center.
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