The good: Wallace is shooting well, blocking some shots, rebounding. He’s been an offensive spark for the second unit. Everyone goes crazy when he comes in the game.
But what’s fascinating about Wallace is this: he got treated like the walk-on for a college team at the end of the game against the Heat, with everyone looking for Wallace to shoot. Same thing on Sunday, very late against the Sixers.
But Monday night? Wallace came in during the third quarter. And he kept shooting, essentially, every time down court. To put this in perspective, his usage rate is 32.9 percent. Carmelo Anthony is at 33.6 percent.
So when Wallace says “I accept my Brian Scalabrine role”, that’s potentially problematic. For one thing, Wallace is playing well enough so far that the Knicks ought to be looking to play him sooner, and more. When Marcus Camby returns, that makes Wallace, ideally, the beta tester for offensive force at the four on the second unit, ahead of Amar’e Stoudemire’s return.
But do the Knicks really want Wallace shooting so much, if he’s playing serious minutes in a close game? Chances are good that the Knicks won’t be leading by 20 all season, though it feels that way right now.
Scalabrine’s usage rate rose above 14.7 just once, and is at 13.5 for his career. Wallace has never been lower than 18, and that came in his rookie year. His career rate is 21.3.
This is not a major problem. (3-0 teams who win by routs each time don’t have major problems). But a further integration of Wallace into the Knick rotation sure seems like a good idea so far. It will just require Mike Woodson to figure out exactly how that works. After all, if Wallace takes all the shots with the second unit, what will J.R. Smith do?