Thursday, March 21, 2013

Gerald Wallace's Struggles This Season

Gerald Wallace is the kind of guy that any team would love to have. Which is why the Nets gave him a 4-year, $40 million contract. They traded their 6th overall pick for him last season, a trade that many fans disagreed with. But he played incredibly well in his few games in New Jersey. But this season, Wallace has not had his offensive game at all. He has been missing his layups this season, making just 46% of them. Layups are the easiest shot an NBA player can take. There has to be something behind this.

By doing my own observing I noticed that when he and Reggie Evans are on the court at the same time, Crash is put in a tough situation. If he tries to be aggressive and drive to the basket, Reggie is down there clogging the lane. Being the poor offensive player he is, Reggie Evans makes it so the guy defending him can leave him and go to defend Wallace. With two defenders collapsing on him, Wallace has to find other ways to try and produce. That's when he starts taking three pointers. He's shooting just 30% from three point, which is lower than his career average. He isn't helping himself at the free throw line either, as he's shooting just 64.9%. That's six percentage points lower than his career average. His scoring output is the worst of his career since he became a starter with the Charlotte Bobcats. He's averaging just 8.2 points per game this season. Five points below his career average.

Wallace admitted that he's been kicking himself over his struggles, and it has become more of a mental issue than a mechanical issue. We saw the same thing from Deron Williams, but Williams has found himself since the break. Wallace is a fan favorite because of the intangibles that he provides. Things like diving on the floor for loose balls, his stellar on-ball defense, and his energy that seems to spark the rest of the team. But there has been a lot of criticism and concern about his declining athleticism. Will he continue to get worse as the years in his contract pass? Will he eventually find himself on the court? Let's hope so. Gerald Wallace playing like himself could be huge for the Nets, and could play a huge role in the teams' success in the playoffs. He isn't getting any younger.

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