Ben Wallace is no symbol

Whether or not the Pistons and Ben Wallace mutually decide that one more season would be in the interest of both parties remains to be seen, but I think there’s a misconception out there about what he actually brings to the table.

Much of the talk about his presence is symbolic — he’d be a good mentor or role model for the young players. And I’m sure that’s true, but his on-court value is much greater. At this point in his career, he’s obviously not a big minutes guy. But he’s still a valuable defender and rebounder in a limited role and, though his offensive impact is minimal, he does help with his ball movement and offensive rebounding capability.

In today’s column for the Detroit Free Press, I wrote about why Wallace’s presence would benefit the team’s young bigs because he’d absolutely force them to beat him out for minutes, which should make them better in the long-run:

Wallace has enough skill left to offer tangible benefits to the team in limited minutes, reasonable things that they could ask their young bigs to replicate if they want those minutes, but he also doesn’t do present so towering a challenge that it would make it unrealistic for him to be out-produced by Drummond or Kravstov at some point during the season.

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