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Joel Anthony could become a better player by copying Ben Wallace’s … offense?

Writing for ESPN’s Miami Heat Index, John Krolik evaluates Heat center (or centre? He is Canadian, after all) Joel Anthony’s season and what he can do to become a more well-rounded player for the Heat. Anthony is active and a solid rebounder and shot blocker, but he’s a non-factor on offense, which hurts the Heat when he’s on the court.

One possible solution? Watch a little Ben Wallace:

Wallace never learned to make free throws, and as he got older he couldn’t really convert layups or dunks very well anymore, but he hid himself exceedingly well offensively by staying in constant motion, making good screens and cuts, and executing surprisingly good passes whenever he had the choice between attempting a contested layup against a rotating defense or feeding an open teammate.

When Wallace played with the Cavaliers in the 2008-09 season, the Cavaliers were shockingly good offensively with a starting offensive frontcourt of Wallace and Zydrunas Ilgauskas — in fact, the Cavaliers were a full four points per 100 possessions better offensively when Wallace played than when he sat. When you consider that Wallace was horrible at both free throws and layups at that point in his career, that’s fairly incredible.

The biggest Wallace myth out there has always been that he’s a liability offensively. The reality is much different. It’s true Wallace was never a scorer and was never a guy who was particularly comfortable catching the ball and trying to post his man up. But, first of all, he’s been an incredible offensive rebounder in his career, which creates extra possessions. He also developed into a very good passer. So, when you combine that passing with the offensive rebounding, you have a player who became pretty good at getting his teammates the ball in spots they liked and in a position where they either had a shot or could set up an even better shot for someone else.

Anthony, like Wallace, will never be a player whose offense scares an opposing team, but if he develops into a crafty player who makes good passes, takes good shots when they are presented and doesn’t turn the ball over, he could really help the Heat improve next season.

13 Comments

  • Oct 6, 201111:22 am
    by JT's Hoops Blog

    Reply

    I never liked Ben Wallace. I thought he was overatted when he was in Detroit.  The reason he had so many rebounds and blocked shot was because of the minutes he played.  He was proven to be a fraud once he signed over to Chicago.  He also had four players to cover his deficiencies on the offensive end while at Detroit too.  Now, he is a shell of his former self, which was not much to begin with and he’s more a parriah than positive influence right now to this Piston team.  He should have just taken the money and run.

  • Oct 6, 201112:14 pm
    by Murph

    Reply

    I really don’t waste a lot of time thinking about Joel Anthony.

  • Oct 6, 20114:36 pm
    by Jodi Jezz

    Reply

    Who is Joel Anthony?

    • Oct 7, 20119:24 am
      by detroitpcb

      Reply

      a real nice defensive player for the Miami Heat that the Pistons could certainly use.

      • Oct 7, 201110:24 am
        by Murph

        Reply

        Or he’s an undersized stiff, with almost no skills, who plays only because the Heat are capped out, and can’t afford a real center.

        • Oct 7, 201111:30 am
          by neutes

          Reply

          I pick the latter.

          The writers are basically trying to suggest a way for him to become less than worthless on the court, since they are forced to play him. Although with a healthy Haslem he doesn’t have to play as much.

      • Oct 7, 201112:12 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        He is decent on defense, but not phenomenal. And he is terrible on offense. He probably maximizes his value on the Heat where they don’t need any offense from him, but are in need of strong post D. He would be worthless, though, on the Pistons.

        • Oct 8, 20118:31 am
          by detroitpcb

          Reply

          as if the Pistons have a strong post defense?

          tell me something – who is a shot blocker on the Pistons roster? especially now that Ben is likely retired

          and we couldn’t use Anthony 20 minutes a game?

      • Oct 7, 20112:47 pm
        by Jodi Jezz

        Reply

        I don’t know if he is considered a nice player, I’d rather trade for Okafor!

  • Oct 7, 20119:05 am
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    nice to see someone give Ben his due for all the little things he did well on the offensive end.

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