Saturday, April 9, 2011

Gerald Wallace Has Become Beloved By Blazer Fans

Gerald Wallace brought his heart and hustle to Portland, and so far it is paying off.

During his career Gerald Wallace has been known as the ultimate hustle player in the NBA. He is not known for his offense, but he makes his living with defense and rebounding   When Portland acquired him at the trade deadline they had a good idea of what they were getting, but they could not imagine how Wallace's presence would change the face of the team.  Since he arrived the Blazers have been playing with more heart, more hustle, and more toughness.  Wallace's demeanor is to not back down from anyone, and that is rubbing off on some of the younger players who had been criticized for being soft.

Wallace can play the 2, 3, or 4 and he is an exceptional defender at each position.  He has been starting at the power forward position, moving aldridge to the center position.  That line up is very small, and conventional wisdom would say that the lineup is too small to compete against bigger team, especially because front court depth is a major problem.  That, however, is not the case as the Blazers have been not only competing, but winning crucuial games down the stretch.  They have been playing hard and hitting the glass, led by Wallace.

Wallace has been key to these wins, he has had 40 point games, and many 13-15 rebound games.  He has been locking his man down each game and he has not been afraid to get down low and do the dirty work.  Friday was a perfect example, he seemed like he was on the floor every other play.  He got in Artest's face all night and did not back down when he got in his face.  Wallace even took a huge charge against the 7 foot Andrew Bynum which swung the momentum back to the Blazers side.

When Wallace was traded to Portland I think blazer fans knew he was athletic and talented, but I don't think they understood how athlletic and how talented he really is.  He seems to be one of the most athletic players on the floor every night.  He has also proven he can knock down the open three, which was a concern at the beginning.  The fact that he is hitting his open shots, hustling on the boards and on defense, and throwing down thunderous dunks is making him a fan favorite.  He was given a standing ovation Friday night as the fans chanted his name during the closing minutes in the victory over the Lakers.  It looks like the addition of Wallace was a perfect move, and it seems like Portland fans are eager for this marriage to continue for many years to come.

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