We argue. You decide…
RASHEED WALLACE (by Aron Phillips)
When it comes to matchups among forwards, it comes down to versatility. For example, Rasheed Wallace‘s name was mentioned in the Top-10 Most Versatile NBA Players list; Elton Brand‘s name was not.
The reason is that you can just as easily find ‘Sheed on the block as you can beyond the three-point arc. Clutch baskets come in bunches for Wallace, whereas Brand seems to disappear late in games. Besides Robert Horry in his prime, I can’t think of a more clutch big man that can stretch the D and knock down a game-changing triple.
If we’re talking who’s better in the locker room, in the huddle, or on the bench, Wallace’s vocal approach puts Brand to shame. Just look at the development of the other young bigs on the Pistons’ roster. Amir Johnson, Jason Maxiell, Kwame Brown and Walter Herrmann have all benefited from ‘Sheed’s tutelage. Just check out the video below.
Despite the Pistons losing ways since parting with Chauncey Billups, Detroit is still a force to reckon with in the East. Sure he’s been quiet in his last two games, but on the year, Wallace has stepped up when it counts. For example, in Detroit’s win over the Lakers in Los Angeles, Wallace posted a season-high 25 points and 13 rebounds; and in a win over the Cavs, he notched 21 points and a season-high 15 rebounds.
At the end of the day, Wallace is a four-time All-Star and an NBA champion — two feats that Brand wishes he had on his resume. Sure he’ll never win the NBA Sportsmanship Award, but who cares?
ELTON BRAND (by Andrew Katz)
Even if you judge Elton Brand purely on what he’s doing in Philly right now, which is most definitely hindered by his transition and the generally unimpressive play of his teammates, I’d still rather have him than Rasheed Wallace. But if you don’t want a high-character guy who gives you everything he’s got night in and night out, and actually plays D, then maybe you should go for ‘Sheed.
I was at our shoot with Elton Brand in Philly in September (Dime #45), and I was in the Pistons locker room on Sunday afternoon. Not that I was looking, but you couldn’t help but notice Brand had been working on his physique over the summer. He looked like he just stepped off a bench press. On the other hand, ‘Sheed doesn’t know what the inside of the Pistons’ weight room looks like. I saw him changing out of his jersey yesterday, and he’s fat. This isn’t the kind of fat that you get from going hard at dinner last night. It’s the kind of fat that you get from never, ever lifting.
After ‘Sheed got dressed, mumbled incoherently under his breath and stormed out of the locker room, the media swarmed Allen Iverson, who said something that gets at the core of this debate. When asked about the team’s energy level, he said: “We get paid a lot of money to come out here and perform, a lot of money to play to our highest ability. There’s no reason, none, not to do that every night.”
Maybe A.I. wasn’t directing that at Wallace specifically, but it’s obvious that ‘Sheed doesn’t bring everything he’s got every night. In the middle of November, he put up 25 and 13 in a big game against the Lakers. But in his last two games, he’s combined for 13 points and 14 boards against Philly and New York. Dude’s got the talent, but he doesn’t always use it.
On the other hand, Brand is a blue collar workhorse whose effort is consistent. That’s far more valuable than many people realize, especially over the course of an 82-game season. Teammates need to rely on each other, and if they’re going to build anything real and lasting, it’s going to happen by coming to play every night — not just when visiting the Lakers.
To that effect, the great coach of St. Anthony High School (Jersey City, N.J.), Bob Hurley Sr., once said that the quality he appreciated most in his players is that he knows what he can expect from them day-to-day. That’s Brand in a nutshell.
Who do you think is better?