Czar Star: Gerald Wallace

Gerald Wallace gets my nod for the East’s All-Star bench. There aren’t many players in the league who fill the stat sheet quite like Wallace. He plays a unique brand of basketball and for his size to be averaging 11.6 rebounds per game is remarkable. He’s scoring 18.6 ppg and is able to get points from anywhere on the floor. He fills the lane, dunks with force, can shoot from the perimeter and hits the glass for follow-ups.

But perhaps his most impressive stat this year is being second in the league in minutes played. Notorious for aggressively attacking every play with a seeming disregard for physics, “Crash” has overcome a history of injury related setbacks to be on the front lines every game this season.  We saw his tenacity this week when he battled through an ankle sprain to score 20 points and grab 10 rebounds in a win over the Heat and then put up 25 points in a disappointing loss to the Hawks.

He also plays outstanding on-ball and team defense – able to produce both blocks and steals. As a coach we love guys like Wallace because their versatility allows us to dictate the way the game is played. Depending on the opponent Larry Brown can have Wallace match-up against the 3 or 4. And he’s quick enough to defend and shut down big guards if needed.

More important than the stats is that Wallace’s play translates into wins. He does the little things on the floor that don’t show up on the stat sheet. With Stephen Jackson coming over to Charlotte this year it’s not a question of if they’ll make the playoffs, but what position Wallace and his mates will end up in.