That’s a huge mistake.
I don’t care whether you classify Wallace as a power forward or center – I see arguments for both – he deserved to make one of the lists. He was certainly better than Shawn Kemp (power forward) and Yao Ming (center), and he might be better than Pau Gasol and (power forward) and Dikembe Mutumbo (center).*
For a stretch sometime around 2002-05, Wallace was the third-best player in the NBA behind Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett.
Defensively, he was better than anyone since Bill Russell. His on-ball defense was solid, and his off-ball defense was other-worldly. There were possessions he guarded all five players at one point. His rotations were that crisp, and he moved that well on the perimeter.
Offensively, Wallace was well above average. Just because he wasn’t a gifted scorer, don’t discount his contributions on that end of the court. He set great screens, passed well for his size, spaced the floor and offensive rebounded. Plus, he didn’t steal shots from the Pistons’ more-efficient scorers.
Now that Dennis Rodman has started to receive all these accolades – Hall of Fame, ranked the No. 7 power forward of the last 30 years – Wallace might be my choice for the most underrated player of all time.
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