Rasheed Wallace will feel the love again, as he comes home to Detroit to start his coaching career and infuse some excitement back into the Pistons. (Jerry S. Mendoza, Flickr)
This season, Rasheed Wallace will head back to the only place he truly ever belonged: Auburn Hills, Michigan with the Detroit Pistons.
The headlines, just like the ball, didn’t lie Monday afternoon. After rumors had previously linked Wallace to an assistant coaching role in Detroit, things finally became official yesterday. As the Pistons played summer league basketball against the Boston Celtics, the fiery Wallace was on the bench. When reporters were quietly perplexed by the thought of his new gig later, Sheed got things started in typical Sheed fashion.
“C’mon, don’t shoot at once, now,” Wallace said playfully to laughter. “Y’all gotta say something or I’m walking off!”
Oh, Sheed, we’ve missed you so. Ever since he joined the Pistons midway through the magical 2004 season, leading Detroit to a championship, the city has had a soft spot for the most vociferous Piston in recent history. When Wallace left in 2009 to play with Boston, it didn’t look right. Neither did seeing him slog through last season with the New York Knicks. The only jersey he looked at home in was Detroit’s, and the only sideline at The Palace he belonged on was the home one.
Aside from adding excitement and perhaps selling a few more tickets, Mo Cheeks adding Wallace to his staff is actually a great basketball move, too. With Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond and Tony Mitchell, the Pistons have plenty of young talent down low who could benefit from a tiny bit of veteran tutelage. No, Wallace isn’t going to teach them how to shoot ill-advised three pointers or ignore their man on an inbounds play, but he will provide some helpful hints on how to survive the brute wars down low in the NBA.
With his colorful lines, explosive personality and excitement for the game of basketball, this move will inject a new degree of life into the Pistons. The team has been sleepwalking for too long, and Wallace’s passion could be the biggest variable towards helping push the young Pistons above their recent malaise. A culture change was badly needed from the bench, and how better to accomplish that mission by adding a volatile personality who won’t be afraid to rattle some cages from time to time. Perhaps Wallace will even be able to act as the bad cop to Cheeks’ perpetual good cop.
The biggest question now becomes, how many technical fouls could Wallace amass from the bench in a single season? That will be perhaps the most interesting Pistons’ stat to monitor next year. Wallace is already trailing another former player turned coach in Jason Kidd by one, considering the new Brooklyn Nets head man got a technical in his summer league debut.
Your move, Sheed.
Max DeMara is a senior editor at The Detroit Sports Site. You can find him on Twitter @SportsGuyTheMax