Ben Wallace is a former NBA player who has been enshrined into the Hall of Fame. He believes he’s tailor-made for today’s NBA, but his numbers prove otherwise.
Ben Wallace is a former NBA player who played for the Chicago Bulls and the Orlando Magic. He was drafted by the Phoenix Suns in 1995, but he never played a game with them. In 2004, he signed with the Boston Celtics where he would remain until 2009.
As part of the Class of 2021, Ben Wallace will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. When he is formally admitted, the former Detroit Piston will be the Hall of Fame’s lowest point-per-game scorer. Wallace, on the other hand, thinks he was “tailor-made” to play in today’s NBA, which is focused on offensive ability and shooting.
Wallace was maybe his era’s most frightening defensive presence. He was the hardest player on a tough-guy squad that won a title. However, he was a burden on offense at the time, and he would be much more so today.
Ben Wallace’s career was based entirely on defense and rebounding, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a result.
In the first half of Game 4 of the 2004 NBA Finals, Ben Wallace of the Detroit Pistons and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers fight for position. | Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Wallace didn’t join a league renowned for its offense when he went undrafted in 1996. Despite this, Big Ben was named Defensive Player of the Year four times in his NBA career. The average club scored 93.4 points per game when Detroit won the NBA Championship in 2004. So standing out as the league’s top defensive player wasn’t easy.
Steph Curry’s offensive revolution with the three-pointer would take another decade. In an age when defense was emphasized, the former Virginia Union star was the league’s top defender.
Wallace may rank dead last in points scored in the Hall of Fame, but he ranks 11th in blocks and has more thefts than Oscar Robertson, Jamaal Wilkes, John Havlicek, and Reggie Miller. He ranks third in steals among players who might be considered centers. When it comes to forwards, he’s up there with Kevin Garnett and Chris Webber, both of whom were inducted in 2021.
Wallace, on the other hand, would be run off the court in today’s NBA due to his offensive ineptness.
With terms of scoring, Wallace’s finest season came in Detroit in 2004-05, when he averaged 9.7 points per game. In his 16-year career, he never shot more than 4 free throws a game and was 41.4 percent from the line.
His career three-point attempt average is 0.0.
The 6-foot-9, 240-pound center was a physical marvel who could have athletically battled with any of today’s big guys. Wallace would have been able to dominate the boards as effectively as he did 15 years ago if not for his effort — he averaged 15.4 rebounds per game in 2002-03. In seven straight seasons, he reached double digits.
His lack of offensive ability, on the other hand, would severely limit him.
Julius Randle topped the league in minutes played at the center position in 2020-21, according to NBA.com. Randle made 41.1 percent of his three-point tries, averaging 5.5 a game. Domantas Sabonis of Indiana finished second in minutes behind Randle and shot just 32.1 percent from outside the arc, but Domas has much more playmaking ability than Wallace.
Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz is the most similar player to Wallace in terms of playing style. On the offensive end, Gobert, a multiple-time Defensive Player of the Year Award winner, is limited to laying screens and catching lobs. Wallace is capable of doing both of these duties. During the regular season last year, Gobert averaged 30.8 minutes per game.
Wallace is Gobert minus four inches and 20 pounds in the best-case scenario. However, his offensive numbers place him somewhere between Bismack Biyombo and a worse-shooting Willie Cauley-Stein.
Wallace might have played a part in today’s league, but it would not have been a big one.
However, according to NBA.com, the former Piston is sure that his style of play will be appropriate for the game in 2021:
“I believe my game would be a perfect fit for today’s game. Because of my stature and the way I played the game, I was that man on the court who seemed out of place in my peak. I had to go to the realm of the giants to play. The game now moves at a much quicker pace. This kind of basketball, I believe, would have been tailor-made for my game.”
Ben Wallace discusses whether he could play in the NBA today.
Offensively, the 2004 NBA Champion would not have been able to compete with today’s stars. Wallace lacked the ability to adapt since his athleticism and effort were no longer sufficient. However, as he said in the same NBA.com article, he would have found a way to influence the game on the other side of the court.
He said, “There is no regulation you can put in place to prohibit me from playing defense.”
Unless otherwise stated, all stats are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.
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Ben Wallace is a former NBA player who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016. He is also known as one of the best defensive players in NBA history, but many people believe that he’s not good enough for today’s game. Reference: is ben wallace a hall of famer reddit.
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