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All the media outlets in town must have gotten the memo last night, because we woke up this morning to stories about Rasheed Wallace in the Daily News, the Post, ESPN New York, and the Times. Headlines: "Wallace Has Been Positive Influence On Knicks So Far," "Helping Knicks On And Off The Court," "Should Sheed Start At The Four?" [Editor's note: God no] and "Wallace Giving Knicks Quality Time and Tips." It's Morning in America, and that morning reeks of 'Sheed.
The Knicks have a few days off before their next game — Friday against Dallas, and all that day's stories will focus on Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd somehow trying to get "revenge" on Mark Cuban, or something — and there's no better Human Interest/Man Bites Dog story than Wallace, who has quite emphatically become the Knicks' Brian Scalabrine, the human victory cigar. (His own words, actually.) 'Sheed played a few more minutes than Scalabrine in the third win over the 76ers, but despite ESPN New York's hope that he'll be a starter, the Knicks are clear about what 'Sheed is.
“He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do,” [Coach Mike] Woodson said of Wallace, whom he persuaded to come out retirement in October. “He can’t play real big minutes, but the minutes that he gives us are positive.”
We'd say so. Wallace, in his 6.7 minutes a game, is leading John Hollinger's Player Efficiency Rating. The rest of the top five: No. 5 LeBron James, No. Tim Duncan, No. 3 James Harden, and No. 2 Mike Dunleavy, obviously. (Other Knicks rankings: No. 7 Carmelo Anthony, No. 31 Jason Kidd, No. 34 J.R. Smith. Last year, the Knicks only had two players in the top 40, Anthony at No. 28 and Jeremy Lin at No. 38.) Now, that's obviously skewed and can't last, but boy, it's sorta beautiful to look at anyway, right?
Wallace is still probably best suited to the Scalabrine, words-of-wisdom-from-the-bench role, though his experience could come in handy during the playoffs. But we still haven't seen the fun 'Sheed yet. He doesn't have any techs, and he hasn't done anything gloriously crazy. Then we'll know he truly belongs and is welcome here. We can't wait.