Andre Iguodala: If he played now, Rasheed Wallace would be better than Giannis Antetokounmpo

Rasheed Wallace and Andre Iguodala in Philadelphia 76ers v Detroit Pistons, Game 1
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Giannis Antetokounmpo – a back-to-back MVP who led the Bucks to a championship – is arguably the best player in the NBA today.

Rasheed Wallace, who played from 1995-2013, never made even an All-NBA team.

Andre Iguodala, a free agent who last played for the Warriors, on “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz“:

Rasheed Wallace probably could have been a top-five player in the league for a 10-year stretch. He just chose, “I’ll just do my thing over here.” He was shooting 3s from half court. No, he was shooting half-court shots left-handed and right-handed. If Rasheed Wallace played in modern-day basketball today, if he played in our league today, he’d be the top-five player in the league. He’d be better than Giannis, and I love Giannis.

Iguodala is a provocateur. Does he actually believe this? Who knows? But he knows how to get attention (while complimenting a beloved former player in Wallace).

Wallace was an incredibly skilled player. In his era, he was frequently described as having top-five talent. But he was never considered a top-five player. For multiple reasons – emotional swings, a desired team-first approach to the game – he just didn’t assert his talent in a way that had that level of impact. He certainly made large impacts. Just not top-five-player large. Why would that suddenly change in this era?

Antetokounmpo deserves all the credit for exerting his will on the game. He plays with a consistent force that requires focus and determination. Wallace is an example of how difficult that is to channel. Wallace choosing “I’ll just do my thing over here” is not a mindset that can simply be reversed.

Perhaps, Wallace’s shooting and defensive versatility would’ve made him more valuable today. But he made just 35% of his 3-pointers in his prime years as a shooter. He might have added more value in his time by being ahead of the curve. Though he would’ve been given far more leeway to bomb from distance, he’d be one of many big shooters today. And his defensive versatility was already quite valuable in his time.

Another issue: Iguodala brought up Wallace to counter the argument that the the 2004 Pistons lacked a superstar. Ben Wallace was Detroit’s best player, and he was a superstar at that moment. His peak didn’t last long. He wasn’t recognized as one because he scored so little and specialized in defense. But for a short period, Wallace had a superstar-level impact on the court.