I've noticed a most disturbing trend amongst online Celtics fans this year. They enjoy blaming Rasheed Wallace for the team's lack of success. Put it this way: if it was Rasheed that picked up that technical in the 4th quarter with 90 seconds to go last night and not KG, we wouldn't have heard the end of it. Every technical foul he gets is magnified. Every gesture he makes and every statistic he accumulates is scrutinized. Sometimes I feel fans have The Police's song Every Breath You Take playing on repeat when it comes to Rasheed Wallace.
Well I have a blunt message for Celtics fans: Stop! Rasheed Wallace was brought into solidify the bench. Has he disappointed in some regards? Yes. His overall shooting percentage is the lowest of his career (40%) and his 3 point% is the lowest of the last 10 seasons (28%). He's averaging 9 and 4 in 22 minutes a night. Would that look a lot better if he was at 12 and 6? Sure. But before people continue pointing their fingers at him laying into him as the reason for the Celtics troubles, consider this: KG's been averaging right around 14 and 7 for the season in 30 minutes a night. Pierce and Allen, also career 20 ppg scorers, are at 18 and 16 respectively in 34 and 36 minutes per night. After a stellar first half to the year Kendrick Perkins will be lucky to keep his average over 10 ppg. My point is simple: it's not all Rasheed's fault.
Why do Celtics fans continue to point the finger at him? What would you really like him to do? Hustle more? The guy's 36 years old and this is his 15th season in the league. He's a significant improvement over Mikki Moore. Who would've been a better signing this past summer? He was payed the full mid-level exception and his contract is 3 years long. Can't Celtics fans support him and stop blaming their lack of success this season on a 6th man? Think of that absurd concept. It's like me blaming the Cavs' play on how Delonte West performs or the Flakers on how Lamar Odom plays.
What about Garnett and his $40 million or so he's set to make the next 2 seasons? The guy has repeatedly shown he can't move laterally and gets beaten consistently by the likes of Kris Humphries, Spencer Hawes and Carl Landry. Or Ray Allen, who's having one of his worst shooting seasons of his career. Or Paul Pierce, who not a long time ago had the lift of Glen Davis.
I don't understand all the Rasheed Wallace hate and frankly it sickens me. The bottom line is he hasn't lived up to his expectations, has shot poorly, and received a lot of technicals (which if you're a fan of the game, you should've known was coming). But he also hasn't played a playoff game yet, you know, the ones that really count. He's a long defender who can actually guard 7 footers with single coverage. He defends Dwight Howard exceptionally well, stealing entry pass after entry pass to him. And he's a 4 time all star and NBA champion. If the Celtics season ends in anything less than a championship, we'll all be mightily disappointed. If and when that happens and the season is rehashed, his play should be considered as one of the reasons they didn't go all the way. But not the primary reason. It's just not his fault.