The inevitability of Gerald Wallace’s lost confidence

The New York Post has a mildly distressing comment from Gerald Wallace on his shooting struggles, which haven’t disappeared as the year has worn on. “I’ve never been in a situation where the coaching staff didn’t have confidence in me and my teammates didn’t have confidence in me,” he said. “But, to the point of saying that, I’ve never been a shooter, either. I’ve always been a slasher, a guy who gets to the rim, gets to the basket.”

That Wallace hasn’t found many opportunities to drive to the rim is understandable—he’s the fourth scoring option in the starting lineup, which is saying a lot when the fifth player is Reggie Evans. But if the lack of opportunity has bled into his confidence and negated his ability to score anywhere, which he’s more or less admitting it has, that presages something a little more ominous about how the rest of his four-year deal might go. We’ve watched too many games where Wallace will unsuccessfully post-up for fail to finish inside, and it’s not just the eye test confirming this; according to mySynergySports, he ranks 100th in isolation plays, 156th in posting up, 147th as a cutter, 191st in transition, 281st as a spot-up shooter, and 183rd everywhere else. (As in, the average number of points he generates per play of that kind.)

Those are just brutal numbers, and it doesn’t take a Hollinger to note that the Nets will be that much more lethargic in the playoffs if he isn’t up to speed. In just a few seasons, Wallace has gone from being The Guy on a Charlotte team to a role player—and it seems clear now that he hasn’t made the necessary mental adjustment. If it doesn’t happen this year, there’s always the off-season.