7.08.2009

Random Drive-Bys

A quick look at reaction to the Sheed acquisition from around the league:

Boston’s over-the-top swagger meter is in danger of exploding from Day One. Garnett, ‘Sheed, Kendrick Perkins, Pierce, Rondo smacking people in the face, Eddie House’s general demeanor; this could be the most insufferable team EVER put together.

But with all due respect to the guys left, the last difference-maker has been claimed: Rasheed Wallace. This makes the Celtics the best team heading into next season. Yeah, Jason Kidd is still out there, but it looks like he's returning to Dallas. That's not going to change the landscape, at least not at the top. Lamar Odom? Tough to see him leaving L.A. Andre Miller ... Shawn Marion ... David Lee ... Drew Gooden ... Antonio McDyess ... Grant Hill. All players who will help a team, but not put it over. Which is what Wallace just did for Boston.

The Celtics may have only been a Kevin Garnett away from repeating in the first place in 2009. Now, the Celtics could be heading into next year's postseason with two Kevin Garnetts.

And then there's the Lakers, the current residing best team in the NBA. But are they? Not anymore. Who says they're better off with Ron Artest and without Trevor Ariza? Nobody knows how Artest will fit in. Wallace, on the other hand, is almost a guaranteed plus on the chemistry-meter for Boston, a true glue guy and as unselfish as they come.

But just think of what Rasheed means. We now have a legitimate backup, should Kendrick Perkins suffer another shoulder injury or any other joints act up on Kevin Garnett. We now have a legitimate “rock” for the bench - a veritable go-to-guy who could very well draw double teams in the post (when he elects to play down there) in order to free up shots for guys like Eddie House. And then of course, he can personally wreak havoc on other backup big men not quite up to his speed, whether that warrants shooting over them from 30 feet out or from five feet away from the hoop. Who else has a big man as talented as Rasheed coming off the bench? Who?

Remember Game 4 against the Lakers two years ago? When we completed that comeback with Perk on the bench and Posey in to stretch the floor? Plenty of scenarios similar to that will spring up this season, so Wallace should see an ample amount of minutes in late game situations.

As one general manager who was interested in Wallace can attest, the Celtics just raised the bar to an Olympic level in what has become a torrid Eastern Conference arms race.

“Now you can play (Wallace), Garnett and Pierce together,” said Nets president Rod Thorn. “He’s different, because he can play all three frontcourt positions. They haven’t had a player like Rasheed. PJ (Brown) was a nice player, but adding a player like Rasheed is a big step.

Stan Van Gundy, who coaches the latter team, can already envision matchup problems.“Now with Garnett, (Wallace) and (Kendrick) Perkins, that’s a great frontline rotation,” Van Gundy said. “Rasheed is another guy now with frontline experience. He can stretch the floor and score in close. None of their bigs were really 3-point shooters, so now they’ve got something new.”

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