There is no other way to say it, the Knicks need Rasheed Wallace and they need him now! Before going down with his foot injury (Stress Reaction) Wallace was off to an incredible start. His season averages of 15mins, 7.2pts and 4.2rebs doesn’t even begin to describe the impact he has had on this team.
From yelling out defensive assignments and rotations, something sorely lacking in his absence, to the swag he permeates as a NBA champion down to even creating the “three to the dome” celebration each Knick does after hitting a three. Rasheed’s imprints were all over this team. Mike Woodson might argue that the Knicks recent defensive slippage has been a result of lack of practice time, and he might be accurate, but a large part is due to Rasheed being sidelined the past 11 games. Before he went down the Knicks were being viewed as one of the best defensive teams in the league. The undefeated streak to start the season was manly credited to the MVP play of Carmelo Anthony and the new-found commitment to defense. In Wallace’s absence, the Knicks defense has faltered and now sits in the middle of the pack. With the defense faltering, losses have become a bit more frequent. Obviously, Wallace wasn’t the sole reason for the early season defensive dominance but his specialty, defensive communication, a Knick strength while Wallace was healthy has been truly lacking in his absence.
“You miss him a lot”, Woodson said when asked about Wallace. “One of the reasons bringing him to New York, I know he brings that to the table. It’s contagious when you have one or two guys talking all the time, you do miss him”.
The Knicks doctors have been adamant that Wallace does not have a fracture in that left foot and are sure with proper rest will return. Here lies the dilemma, what is considered proper rest? If Wallace was to return prematurely, the stress reaction could easily develop into a stress fracture which could keep Wallace out for up to 2 months.
Those fears have resulted in a very slow and cautious approach. Who would have ever thought during training camp that Rasheed Wallace would be more important than Amare’ Stoudemire? But like Rasheed says, “Ball Don’t Lie”. Neither do the Knicks when they play without him.