New York Knicks’ forward Rasheed Wallace hasn’t played in a game since December 13 against the Los Angeles Lakers.
It’s been nine games since ‘Sheed has been able to come off the bench for the Knicks thanks to an injured foot and his absence has been felt in a big way.
Much of the Knicks early season success was credited to their communication on defense, which Wallace is a big part of. The Knicks were making it a habit of holding opponents in the low 90’s when it came to scoring the basketball.
But in the nine games that Wallace has missed, it has been a much different story.
After allowing 105 points in Tuesday’s loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, the Knicks have allowed over 100 points in six of the nine games that ‘Sheed has been out of the lineup. They have allowed an average of 100.7 points per game in Wallace’s recent absence and coincidently have gone only 4-5 during that stretch.
The Knicks were 17-5 when ‘Sheed went down and now sit at only 21-10.
The reason is simple and it has been on the defensive end of the floor where Wallace excels.
The communication hasn’t been there. The effort can be questioned at times and the rotations have been horrible.
Wallace helps solve a lot of those problems, even sitting on the bench.
“We miss him a lot,” Mike Woodson told ESPN’s Jared Zwerling after Wednesday’s practice. “I mean, that was one of the reasons of bringing him to New York. I know he brings that to the table and it becomes very effective. It’s contagious when you’ve got one or two guys that are talking all the time.”
It has been nice to see guys like Chris Copeland get more minutes and the spark he has given at the offensive end has been nice, but he offers up nothing on the defensive end.
There was one point during the Portland game that Woodson had to use a frontcourt of Amar’e Stoudemire, Copeland and Steve Novak, which offers very little in terms of being able to get stops.
Wallace is an important factor to the Knicks success and the team needs him back sooner, rather than later.
Unfortunately Woodson said that he does not have any idea when Wallace will be able to return.
Until then, the guys that are in uniform have to become much better communicators on the defensive end of the floor.
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