Monday, September 26th, 2011 at 12:52 pm  |  18 responses

Top 50: Gerald Wallace, no. 41

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Chris Haynes / @ChrisBHaynes

Every team needs that nasty guy. I don’t mean nasty as in the former WWE wrestler, Goldust. I mean nasty as in someone who’s going to take on being the enforcer and who doesn’t mind doing all the dirty work. Gerald Wallace fits that mode perfectly.

The Portland Trail Blazers have been going through a transformation in recent years, making sure the roster was filled with nice-looking wholesome players who aren’t sour reminders of the” Jail Blazer” era. That’s cool, but a bunch of wholesome players only get you so far. Every team needs “that guy” on their roster.

Wallace has that rugged edge and persona without the off-the-court baggage. That’s why it was astonishing and smart that Rich Cho and the Blazers picked up Wallace for a little bit of nothing last season.

The move was praised by most, even though the acquisition would see the coveted Nicolas Batum delegated to a reserve role.

Why was Cho fired again? I’ve digressed.

Wallace is “Mr. Versatility,” at 6-8 you can find him anywhere on the court guarding the opposing point guards to the power forwards, which allows LaMarcus Aldridge time to rest on the defensive end. His nickname, “Crash,” exemplifies his aggressive style of play on both ends of the court. Coach Nate McMillan doesn’t need to draw up plays for him; Wallace finds his opportunities within the flow of the offense which is pretty remarkable for a player of his caliber. Did I mention he’s low maintenance?

When you think of the best rebounding small forward in the League, most would consider LeBron James to be the best. James has never averaged double digits in rebounding, Wallace has. He’s always among the league leaders in steals, averaging over 2 steals a game three times in his career. Opposing offensive players may get by their defender only to see Wallace flying through the air for the weak-side swat, as he’s always in position to help his teammates.

He hovers around 48 percent from the field for his career, which means he’s a high-risk efficient scorer. Wallace has an underrated low-post game too. Weighing in at only 215, he’s a brute on the block. He doesn’t possess a ton creativity down low, but he backs his way in effortlessly for easy buckets.

Mostly what I’ve mentioned about Wallace are the intangibles he brings. Let’s not get it twisted, this dude is a high flyer who thrives in transition and can be found on ESPN’s Top 10 any day of the week. It’s rare you find an athletic exciting player who probably cherishes his role as a garbage man even more.

Despite his numbers declining slightly over the last couple of seasons, Wallace finds himself on SLAMonline’s Top 50 yet again. With half a season of Coach McMillan’s system under his belt, Wallace is due for a breakout season with the Blazers, and he may very well be the X-factor in their quest for an NBA Championship next year.

SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2011
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Luol Deng Bulls SF 8
49 Andrew Bogut Bucks C 7
48 Ray Allen Celtics SG 9
47 Marc Gasol Grizzlies C 6
46 David West Hornets PF 15
45 Kevin Martin Rockets SG 8
44 Andrew Bynum Lakers C 5
43 Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 11
42 Lamar Odom Lakers PF 14
41 Gerald Wallace Blazers SF 7

• Rankings are based solely on projected ’11-12 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Maurice Bobb, Shannon Booher, David Cassilo, Bryan Crawford, Sandy Dover, Adam Figman, Jon Jaques, Eldon Khorshidi, Ryne Nelson, Doobie Okon, Ben Osborne, Quinn Peterson, Dave Schnur, Abe Schwadron, Dan Shapiro, Irv Soonachan, Todd Spehr, Tzvi Twersky, Yaron Weitzman, DeMarco Williams and Ben York.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

  • Add a Comment
  • Share
  • RSS

Tags: , , ,

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/670447-dwight-howard-and-andrew-bogut-a-tale-of-two-2011-all-nba-defensive-centers nbk

    good work Chris. —- Bogut is still the best player on the list IMO

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    I could say it’s a tie between Bogut and GWall because Wallace is so versatile. The guy can basically do anything out there; score, rebound like a center, defend with the best of them, pass, hit the three, post up, and is a beast on the break.
    I would give Bogut the slight edge because good centers are hard to find in today’s L but Wallace affects the game in so many ways.

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    Just love this dude, and think he’s the best player on the list so far.
    And what happend to the graphic show us this year’s place, last year’s place etc. ?

  • ctkennedy

    Have no problem with him in this range …he can find a role for any team in the league n matter towards they success…he just cant be a number one option

  • http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7021031/the-nets-nba-economics Allenp

    The first player I can say might honestly be better than Bogut. He actually is the best player discussed so far, so he’s right where he belongs in that respect.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/670447-dwight-howard-and-andrew-bogut-a-tale-of-two-2011-all-nba-defensive-centers nbk

    LeBron, Durant, Melo, Pierce, Gay, Granger, Wallace, Deng.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Even Granger will be ahead of GWall in these rankings, Wallace is still the better player. All DG does is score and he’s not particularly efficient at it.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Even *though*

  • roybot

    He only had half a season to learn to play with the Blazers and still fitted in so well. Does this mean B. Roy is officially off the list?

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Good all around player.
    Soop – you really think Granger will be ranked ahead of Deng and Wallace?
    I agree that he probably will. But he probably shouldn’t.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/670447-dwight-howard-and-andrew-bogut-a-tale-of-two-2011-all-nba-defensive-centers nbk

    He is more efficient then Gerald Wallace (once you factor in 3pt shooting, FT attempts & %). Averages a block and a steal per game for his career, (Wallace at 1.5Stl, .9Blk) – Plus this list values offense more then defense.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/670447-dwight-howard-and-andrew-bogut-a-tale-of-two-2011-all-nba-defensive-centers nbk

    Matic, I was just listing the best SF’s according to Slam saying Wallace is 7 and Deng is 8. I don’t necessarily agree, although it would depend on the team in place for me to say who I’d rather have between Wallace, Granger, and Deng.

  • showtime

    Crash!!! I would def have him right behind rudy gay. In Sf list to me. Since this list is going off potential. But at this stage of career is the truth better than crash rudy or granger, deng?

  • Shem

    Love the dude, definitely not 41 though. Too old and banged up but when he was in his prime with Charlotte, he was one hell of a player. I’d take everyone named except Luol and Ray over Gerald Wallace at this point.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    I think he is, I mean he’s still getting 18, 5 and 3 despite his age and playing with 3 other all-stars.

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    this is perfect for him

  • BBaller

    My spurs should of replaced Bowen with this guy! Why again did they go for RJ?

  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com hoopistani

    totally unnecessary/unrelated/unfunny Goldust reference tho