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Rasheed Wallace not feeling the love in Boston

Apr 8, 2010, 2:23 PM EDT

nba_wallace_250.jpgLast summer Boston needed to do something, anything, to try and prop the championship window open a little longer. Rasheed Wallace was something. A guy with title pedigree, who maybe could join the fountain-of-youth-gang in Boston and give them one more big run. At least that was the dream.

Of course, if the team fell short Wallace became an obvious scapegoat.

Even before the season, the goals for the team were unreasonably lofty. ESPN’s Bill Simmons does not speak for all Celtics fans, but he was part of the bar-setting going on back before the season.

Am I excited about Sheed turning Boston into the biggest ref-baiting, trash-talking, fan-unfriendly, swaggeracious (I just made up that word) NBA team since the 1992 Knicks? Actually, not really… If it’s a 67-win team, then, yes. I will put up with it… But if it’s a 54-win team that looks old on back-to-backs, seems like more sizzle than steak, can’t figure out its roles, and spends too much time in petty little battles with opponents and refs (and by the way, Doc Rivers was the No. 1 ref-baiting coach in the league last year), then no, it’s probably not a good thing. So we will see.

So all they had to do was win about 67 games and be in line for a title? Totally fair. They just had to win more games than the 2008 title Celtics team (66). By the way, since the 2000-01 season there has been one 67-win team, Dallas the year they got knocked out in the first round. So very reasonable standards.

Which, of course, the aging Celtics did not meet. Ray Allen got cold, Kevin Garnett got slow and Rasheed was Rasheed. They aren’t going to get to 54 wins.

Fans are frustrated, and Wallace gets to be the scapegoat.

Simmons teed it off with a column this week:

Sheed will finish the 2009-10 regular season next week as my least favorite Celtic ever, edging out Todd Day, Fred Roberts, Sidney Wicks, Curtis Rowe and Vin Baker. At least Vinnie had an excuse: a drinking problem. Sheed has an apathy problem. His doughy, nonchalant shadow looms over every game.

The best/worst part (depending on your feelings about the Celtics) is Wallace has two more years on his deal after this one.

That led Zach Lowe of Celtics Hub to ask the real question:

Aren’t you dying to know more about the internal debate that led to the signing? As I said before, Sheed’s statistical profile hid nothing. It showed him to be an aging player on a steep, steep decline toward retirement. Before you even had to think about the technicals, the way he bashed Flip Saunders and quit on Michael Curry, all of the attitude issues–before any of that–you had a black-and-white statistical profile of a nearly washed-up player.

There must have been someone in the Celtics organization that said no, right?

Desperate times lead to desperate signings. This was a desperation move by the Celtics that has worked out like every level-headed observer would have guessed. Sheed is on the downhill side and the decline is picking up speed. The Celtics ignored the signs.

The only silver lining is Boston fans will have him to scapegoat for a couple more years.

  1. dave - Apr 8, 2010 at 4:04 PM

    Not surprising coming from a Blazer fan. this was his M.O. back in portland.

  2. ocgunslinger - Apr 8, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    Come on…..Like the rest of the Celtic’s aren’t on that same downhill and slippery slope. Sheed is just giving them more company. He is not the reason the Celtics won’t be successful in the playoffs.

  3. Adam - Apr 8, 2010 at 4:13 PM

    Did you actually Simmons’ entire article? If so, my condolences. I got about 3 paragraphs in before looking at the scroll bar and realizing there was no way I was going to read 80,000 words about Rasheed Wallace and the Boston Celtics.

  4. Dj Quest - Apr 8, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    Simmons article was pretty funny if not a bit harsh.
    The harshest part was that most of it was pretty accurate and it did nothing to paint Rasheed in a positive light. Rasheed to me is that guy at the Y who hits one to two shots a game and then talks trash about those minor accomplishments for the rest of the afternoon. Meanwhile, his team gets blown out cuz he never gets back on D…
    (please excuse any typos)

  5. Drew - Apr 8, 2010 at 7:29 PM

    To be honest, at the time I thought this was a good signing, adding to the depth and veteran leadership of the Celtics. We know they’re getting older, but the dropoff has been pretty dramatic in just a season. They do more bickering than backing it up with their play, and that comes from an aging defense who looks to the refs instead of manning up and a frustrated offensive squad who often don’t show the firepower to find easy baskets. Many have pontificated that they will perform better in the playoffs with more days off to rest the aging players. I just don’t see them competing with Cleveland, Orlando, or Atlanta. I’m predicting a first round playoff exit.

  6. john - Apr 8, 2010 at 11:25 PM

    Im sorry Kurt that you believe that Bill Simmons is unjustly attacking Rasheed Wallace but let me tell you that the numbers don’t lie. If you actually cared to do some research before you rambled on with your opinion you would realize that you are in fact wrong. Simmons cited facts like these to back up his argument Rasheed +/- is -4.6. If you take the Celtics starting line up +/- per 48 minutes and switch Perkins with Rasheed they go from a +12 to -5. If you switch Rasheed for Garnett they go to -1.1. His net points per possesion are -5.3. Maybe you would have known that if you actually read his whole article. Not to mention his efg% is extremely low at .473%. So before you go attacking Simmons argument try to develope your own… with some FACTS

  7. dan - Apr 8, 2010 at 11:41 PM

    John, I don’t think crying any tears for Wallace. I think he’s laughing at Simmons. So’m I. Call it Sheed-enfreude.

  8. Matt - Apr 9, 2010 at 9:12 AM

    As someone who watches every celtic game, I’d be inclined to agree with Simmons. It’s not scapegoating Sheed to point out that he simply doesn’t hustle…at all. He doesn’t rotate on defense. He doesn’t box out. Is he saving himself for the playoffs? Maybe. However, it’s sure painful to watch. At times, I find myself pining for the 09 Celtics. Even though KG was out, there was never a doubt that the team would come to play everyday.

  9. BlazerFan - Apr 9, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    Sheed was a lazy headcase in Portland…beyond the Ts (for some with fire in belly might be plus) he had no work ethic, preferred taking 3s rather than pound inside, and took no leadership at crunch time. Such a waste of physical talent while he had it.

  10. Stew - Apr 9, 2010 at 11:24 AM

    Where does the headline for this article come from? Rasheed Wallace doesn’t say anything? The headline implies that Rasheed had a comment not that the writer was nothing really to add to the subject.

  11. Sparklemahn - Apr 9, 2010 at 8:45 PM

    He was pretty good for the Pistons.

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