Rasheed Wallace did not save anything for the playoffs — it has become abundantly clear that there is nothing left in those old, lazy legs of his. Despite his promises of possessing a gear saved specifically for the playoffs, Sheed has — if anything — down-shifted in the postseason. As the general level of play gets tougher, Sheed stays the same; old, lumpy, and useless.
He’s gotten so bad I’m begging Doc Rivers to play Shelden Williams. Shelden, a 6’8″ center with hands made of bricks, is a better option off the bench than Sheed, and it isn’t even close. Not only did Sheed brick four of his five shots last night, racking up more personal fouls than points, but he was helpless defensively. This is a guy who has been lauded time and again for his high basketball IQ, but he can’t guard a simple pick-and-roll.
When Sheed was in the game Mo Williams ran several pick-and-rolls in a row with Sheed’s man, and Williams started killing. All us scribes, after the game, gave credit for Williams’ quick scoring outburst to his crowd-pleasing and energy-inducing dunk, and I’m sure that played a part in it. But there was something else that went largely unnoticed; after the timeout that came after Williams’ dunk and a following Williams jumper, Rasheed Wallace checked into the game. From that point Williams picked on Wallace, toying with him on the pick-and-roll. Sheed simply doesn’t possess the foot speed to keep up, and Williams scored on three straight possessions as Wallace failed to properly defend a simple screen-and-roll.
Notice how I am advocating for Shelden Williams to play Sheed’s minutes but have yet to offer a single thing Williams brings to the table. To be honest, I don’t HAVE TO offer anything Williams can do but simply have to explain what he WON’T do. Shelden Williams WON’T brick ill-advised three-pointers. He WON’T get a rebound snatched straight out of his hands by Anderson Varejao. He WON’T get outworked every single possession he’s on the floor. He WON’T fail for lack of effort. He WON’T give anything less than a true playoff resolve.
At this point, that’s all I want from my backup center. I don’t care if Shelden Williams scores a single point the rest of the series, I’m still going with him to play Sheed’s minutes. Sheed has been given his opportunity all season and, besides an odd ability to murder the Toronto Raptors, has earned approximately $0 of his contract.
It’s time for Sheed to sit and, though Shelden Williams isn’t an ideal replacement, at least Williams will try.