In his short stint with the Nets last season, Gerald Wallace averaged 15.2 points on 41.6 percent shooting overall and 38.5 percent from deep, grabbed 6.8 rebounds, handed out 3.1 assists and recorded 1.5 steals, all in line with his career averages. This year, some of those numbers have been halved, others cut dramatically. For a team that invested $40 million in him, that's a concern. For a player whose pride is always on display, that's more than a concern. It's an embarrassment.
Saturday, Wallace talked to Tim Bontemps about what's wrong. He didn't take a single shot vs. the Bobcats, recording five assists in 32 minutes. As always, Wallace was unfailingly honest, raising questions about how he's been used and how he's adjusting to it.
"My confidence is totally gone," Wallace told The Post. "I’m just at the point now ... I’m in a situation where I feel like if I miss, I’m going to get pulled out of the game, you know what I’m saying? So my whole concept is just that you can’t come out of the game if you’re not missing shots."
But increasingly, he has. In Thursday's loss to the Bulls, Wallace was on the bench late in favor of Keith Bogans, who if anything is shooting worse of late. In the last five games, Bogans has been 1-of-18 in 99 minutes of playing time, his only make a three-pointer against the Jazz.
"I think I lost the confidence of the coaching staff and my teammates," Wallace told Bontemps. "So my main thing is those guys can score, so instead of thinking about it so much, just trying to focus on defense, try to move the ball and get those guys shots."
No doubt he is embarrassed. As Bontemps notes, since the break, his numbers have plummeted across the board. In his last 22 games, Wallace is 7-for-47 (14.9 percent) from behind the arc and 12-for-62 (19.4 percent) on shots outside of 10 feet from the hoop. So he is shying away from taking shots.
The Nets are hoping Wallace can return to the form he showed in his last visit to the playoffs, two years ago, when he averaged a near double-double for the Blazers: 15.8 points and 9.2 rebounds to go along with 2.8 assists and 1.3 steals. It's not likely unless the 11-year veteran quickly gets his confidence and mojo back.