he True Fans Bleed Blue and Orange: Balkman Should Learn From Wallaceh

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Balkman Should Learn From Wallace

A weak jump shot, a great rebounder, a lock-down defender, a mis-director of shots, a thief, a terrific leaper, likabillity, and the abillity to drive to the basket with no fear. What else do rookie Renaldo Balkman and 24 year old Gerald Wallace have in common? If you must know, both were born in July and grew up in home towns that start with the letter S. It's easy to see that Balkman's potential rivals that of Gerald Wallace.

Before I continue I am not suggesting that Balkman is as good as Wallace at this point, I am mearly suggesting that Balkman has the talent to become a Wallace type player.

Now that I have that out of the way allow me to continue with my point. In Gerald Wallace's first three seasons in the league with the talent filled Kings he struggled to find minutes. After playing only one year at Alabama Wallace averaged only 10:10 minutes a game while scoring 3.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg, .5 apg, .4 steals, .1 blocks, and a 49.5% from the free-throw line. Those numbers sound familiar? They should, because Balkman is having a very similar season, even better. In Balkman's 13:11 minutes a game he scores more points (3.6 ppg), grabs more rebounds (3.4 rpg), dishes the ball more (.7 apg), steals more balls (.7 a game), blocks more shots (.7 a game), and shoots a bit better from the free throw line (52.2%) then Wallace averaged in his first three seasons. Why compare Wallace's three season's to Balkman's one? There are two reasons. One, it was his only three seasons that he has played under 30 minutes. Two, since Wallace left Alabama after one year and Balkman left after his junior season the players are roughly the same age in the comparisons.

If you didn't see enough of Wallace dropping 42 on the Knicks last night then allow me to take a look at Wallace now. In 2005-2006 Wallace was a true fantasy stud. Wallace finished in the top ten in blocks a game (2.1) and was one of two (Josh Smith) SG/SF in the top ten. He also led all of basketball in steals a game at 2.5. In addition, Wallace had career highs in points (15.3 ppg), rebounds (7.5 rpg), and 53.8% from the floor, although most of his field goal attempts are on drives. This season Wallace hasn't been quite as effective, blocking only .8 shots a game (would lead the Knicks, however) and stealing less balls at 1.8 (would also lead the Knicks).

So lets go back to Renaldo Balkman this year. Since this is Balkman's rookie year we do not have any extended numbers to look at like we do with Wallace, so lets project. Obviously the following numbers would be altered if he played enough minutes, but for now this is the only way to compare at the moment. Wallace plays 33 minutes a game, so I'll project at the same amount of minutes a game. While shooting 43.1% from the field Balkman would be scoring 9.1 ppg, 9 rpg, stealing 1.8 balls, blocking 1.8 shots, and dishing the ball 1.8 times a game. Recognize those last three stats? They happen to all be the same or better than Wallace's numbers at the moment. Impressive, huh?

If Balkman compares like that to Wallace in his sixth year in the league than how does he compare to Wallace in his first three seasons? Well, if you project Wallace's three seasons to 33 minutes a game he was averaging 10.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.3 steals, and blocking only .3 shots a game. Despite Wallace's better scoring abillity Balkman is ahead in every other category shown.

Keep an eye on Balkman he could become the next great defender in the NBA.


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