If Gerald Wallace wasn’t doubting himself before, he surely is now.
The Nets outscored Chicago by 10 in the fourth quarter of Game 3, Brooklyn’s best quarter since the first half of Game 1 – all with Wallace on the bench.
Where does that leave Wallace now? Via Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:
“I don’t know. I couldn’t tell you my role now,” Wallace said Friday at the team’s hotel in Chicago. “I don’t have a clue what my role is on this team.”
Since March 6, Wallace has shot 12-of-66 on jumpers. Wallace wasn’t exactly a great jump shooter before that, but his drop to 18 percent from 31 percent is quite steep and large enough to stifle the Nets’ offense. His lack of confidence in his shot has made it easier for the Bulls to ignore him, which puts more stress on Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson. P.J. Carlesimo, via Bondy:
“I think we’re going through a tough time right now and that’s what playoffs are all about,” Carlesimo said. “We’re all frustrated. And we have to – I have to – do a better job of constantly defining roles and redefining roles so we perform the way we’re capable of performing.”
The Nets shouldn’t completely banish Wallace – or, for that matter, Reggie Evans, who also sat out the entire fourth quarter of Game 3 – from their rotation for good. Wallace can defend, rebound and even pass a bit. He and Evans can help as a complementary players, but their minutes might need to be cut in favor of scorers who attract attention and give Williams, Lopez and Johnson more space.
Evans should have no trouble with that. For a player who twice led his team in scoring and then saw his points-per-game total peak at 19.4, Wallace might have a tough time accepting such a limited role.
But – in the NBA’s tightest first-round series thus far – Wallace’s willingness to take and Carlesimo’s ability to give Wallace a new role might make the difference.