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NBA, Video / Jun 2, 2010 / 1:15 pm

Grading The Offseason Moves: Rasheed Wallace vs. Ron Artest

Each offseason, every NBA team tries to improve. Some teams undergo dramatic makeovers like the Nets did last summer after trading Vince Carter. Others, and most championship contenders, make significant moves that are designed to push a team “over the top” or strengthen their hold. After winning the title, the Lakers signed Ron Artest to help them stay on top, and the Celtics signed Rasheed Wallace to help them get back to the top. We look at how both moves have panned out:

RASHEED TO BOSTON

Wallace to the Celtics was celebrated as a big move for the team. With Kevin Garnett‘s body starting to betray him, Wallace was seen as a guy who could start some games, provide parking lot range, and great toughness/interior defense. He has somewhat lived up to that expectation in the playoffs, but was a huge disappointment in the regular season – as Austin Burton pointed out in his article on UNC. In the regular season, Rasheed looked lazy at best and disinterested at worst on the court. He wouldn’t box out his man, or he’d hoist up bad shots as his 28.3% three point shooting indicates. Wallace’s attitude was largely believed to have had an influence on the general attitude of the Celtics team as a whole, and his impact was seen as pretty negative. As I said above, the playoffs have offered some salvation to Wallace and the Celtics, in what has otherwise been a big disapointment for both sides.

ARTEST TO L.A.

In what essentially amounted to a trade, the Lakers signed Artest away from the Rockets while Houston signed Trevor Ariza. Artest was seen as a more talented (perhaps mercurial) player than Ariza, and his first year with the Lakers hasn’t done anything to disprove that. Artest’s defense has been superb as it always has been, but his offense and shot selection (like Rasheed’s) have been questionable. He shot only 41.4 percent from the field, and his unique habits look like they’ve impacted the players on the Lakers, as throughout the season they were criticized for not giving it their all every night. Like Wallace though, Artest’s signing has paid off in the playoffs, where it was supposed to have the most impact, as he hit the game-winner in Game 5 against the Suns and scored 25 points in the clinching victory.

OVERALL

Both of these guys were brought in for the playoffs – and they’ve delivered en route to the NBA Finals. The Celtics and Lakers knew they had the talent to essentially cruise through the regular season and land a top-4 seed in their conference, so the fact that these teams did essentially go through the motions at times during the season could have been semi-expected. Wallace and Artest have both been playing their best basketball of the season when it matters most, so in that sense both players have done what they were signed to do. Even if they were paid too much to do it.

What do you think? Who will be more clutch in the Finals?

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  • isotope

    Why call it “Grading…” when you don’t do any grading in the post?

  • D A

    Really?! that’s the vid you decide to post? You guys are weak these days.

  • sh!tfaced

    Contending teams like the Lakers & Celtics looking to bring in vets for the playoffs and not so much for the regular season…

    Article’s title could also be “Looking for the next Robert Horry”

  • karizmatic

    I think people have probably been to hard on Rasheed, in hindsight, I think he’s basically decided that he wants to be Robert Horry for the rest of his career, basically mailing in the regular season, and turning it up for the playoffs, so that he can play decent defense on post guys who might be a problem and hit one or two clutch shots. I don’t know if it’s going to pan out for him that way, but we’ll see.

    I think Artest is going to end up being the better acquisition just because he brings a little more. His defense is going to be key in the Lakers suffocating Paul Pierce and when he’s on he’ll be able to punish the Celtics for directing their defense at Kobe and/or Gasol.

  • Dan

    Artest a C+(plus for the rebound, game winner. For also playing good D on Durant)

    Speaking of D thats what Wallace gets.

  • Khalvin

    …Finals need to begin, these guys are hurting for something to write about.

    Clearly no final grade can be given till at the end of game 6 when Lakers hoist up the championship, but somewhere in the article I’d expect to see a grade with the title you gave it….

  • jimmythesaint

    NEARLY there Khlavin … except it’s Ch’ip #18 for BOS and Sheed gets paid to buy some more belts for his teamates. Bynum folds in agony and Odom runs out of fouls. Fisher flails at Rondo who gets career high in 3pt plays. Vujucic? Farmar? Powell? Enjoy the holidays with LAL. Then buy league pass or scalp seats for LAC. Or buy a green TShirt.

  • jimmythesaint

    Pardon. @Khalvin

  • 808

    Rasheed was a bad pickup. I wonder how much of KG’s new punchy persona can be credited to having Rasheed in the locker room? His shot selection is terrible. I can’t believe that it’s in Boston’s gameplan to have Rasheed come off the bench and launch 3s. They picked him up to do that??? Nate Rob could’ve come in and do that. Sheez, Sheed ain’t doing much of anything else…

    Artest. You KNOW what Artest brings. Yes, he’s got a couple of screws loose, but he’s like a shutdown corner. You can let Artest guard the other team’s scorer and forget about it. No double team necessary. More energy for Kobe to put up his b.s. shots.

    Who will be more clutch? Artest of course. His “clutch” might be more in terms of shutting down Pierce, but Artest will make more of a difference. He better, because if he doesn’t I say LA loses. Rasheed…I’ll go out and say that he’s a non-factor, even if he does have a big game. LA could give a shit about Sheed launching 25-foot 3s. Even if he hits a few, LA can win if they D up on PP and Ray.