Despite a quick temper on the court and a general distaste for (almost) all forms of authority, Rasheed Wallace was always destined to be a coach. I just poked through DBB's archives and re-discovered posts from 2007 and 2008 talking about the possibility.
But now that it's actually happening, can we expect to see the same old 'Sheed, heckling refs and throwing tantrums? That won't be the case. From Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:
"When I was playing, I had that passion and fire, cussing everybody out, but I had the opportunity to change that being out on the floor," he said. "But now that I’m coach, I can still have my passion, but I just have to tone it down. I can’t make the difference now. I can talk junk, but I can’t back it up."
More from ESPN's Michael Wallace, who also reports that Rasheed signed a two-year deal:
"I'm not expending the energy out there, running back and forth, [telling referees], 'I'm out here busting my [tail] and you're not giving me a call,'" Wallace said about keeping his emotions in check as an assistant coach. "Being over there on the sideline, you try to be more of a motivational inspiration for the kids."
Rasheed also revealed that the Knicks offered him a coaching job, as well, but he opted to return to Michigan to be closer to his family, who still live in the Detroit area. From Ellis:
"It’s a blessing in disguise; my kids are still back in Detroit," Wallace said after the Pistons’ loss to the Celtics in summer-league action. "I have the best of both now. I’ll be able to do what I want and that’s to teach young guys how to play basketball the right way and still be with my kids."
As for the timing of his job, he opted for a quick transition from player to coach so that he can teach players who still remember watching him in his prime. From ESPN:
"That's why Mo brought me on board," Wallace said. "I think it helps with me being a part of their generation, with them watching me as they were coming up as young ball players. That generation gap isn't as large as it would be if I retired in the early 1990s and tried to come back into coaching now. So it's not like, 'Well, you didn't do nothing. Who are you?' I've seen a lot of older coaches get disrespected like that, and you've had guys who won championships."
Along those lines, I don't think it's a coincidence that Wallace drifted toward Maurice Cheeks. Wallace grew up in Philadelphia, and he was nine years old when Cheeks helped the 76ers to their third NBA title in 1983. Their paths crossed again in Portland when Cheeks took over the Trail Blazers in 2001-02. Even though that coincided with the truly dysfunctional "Jail Blazers" era, I suspect there's a good deal of mutual respect between these two men, in part rooted in the fact that Wallace grew up watching Cheeks excel as a player.
In any case, one young player that Wallace has already spent time working with is Andre Drummond. From Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News:
"We’re gonna get on him. He’s still young and raw, depending on his athleticism, which is what a lot of 19-year olds do," Wallace said. "What will get Dre over is, he’s not one of those "I know" guys. Everything you tell them is "I know". He’s a sponge, he sucks it up. He might not like it but he still does it."
Drummond and Wallace went up against one another last summer at the practice facility when Wallace was contemplating a comeback. Every play he was in Drummond’s ear, offering tips.
"Great guy, a lot of knowledge and fun to be with," Drummond said. "He pushes me to play hard and to do things I’m not used to doing. That’s what he does. He sees the game in a different light. He lets me know I can do better."
I'm not sure how a lot of Detroit's offseason moves will play out, but I suspect this one will be a success. Now your thoughts.