Would this former Pistons great really be “better than Giannis?”

Rasheed Wallace #36 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Rasheed Wallace #36 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons have had some great players over the years and it is always interesting to think about how they might fit into the modern NBA.

Would guards like Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars be launching more 3-pointers? Would a 3-and-D player like Tayshaun Prince be even more valuable? Would Bill Laimbeer be one of the best stretch-fives in the league?

Comparing eras is difficult, especially when there have been myriad changes to the rules and game from decade to decade and so you aren’t really comparing apples to apples. This often leads to old NBA heads and veteran players talking about how things were more difficult in their day, how modern players are “soft” etc. etc.

I do think there is some amount of truth to those things as a fan who grew up in the Bad Boys era. Things were different, more physical, and you were allowed to do things that would get you thrown out of an NBA game now.

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But I’d also say the talent level is as high as it has ever been and that players are even bigger and more skilled than they were in the 80’s and 90’s, as it is the natural evolution of all sports.

Those two competing themes were on full display in a recent comment by Andre Igoudala that is getting some attention.


As a longtime fan of the Detroit Pistons and a huge fan of Rasheed Wallace, I was shocked to hear Iggy say that he thinks Sheed would be better than Giannis Antetokounmpo if he played now.

Detroit Pistons: Would Rasheed Wallace be better than Giannis?

I should first say that I love Rasheed Wallace. He was my favorite player from the “Goin’ to Work” era and was the final piece that brought that championship team together.

Sheed really was the prototype of the stretch four, a big who could score in the post and also step out for 3-point shots. He was also an elite defensive player, both individually and within a scheme. His basketball IQ was off the charts (other than all of the boneheaded technicals) which is why he is part of the impressive coaching tree that grew from that era.

I don’t think Wallace quite lived up to his insane potential, but he was still one of the most skilled power forwards I’ve ever seen.


Better than Giannis?  Come on now.

We all know the game was more physical back then, and that some of Sheed’s skills would certainly be better utilized in the modern game that values 3-point shooting and bigs who can pass and make plays.

I do agree that Sheed might be even better if he played now, but he wouldn’t suddenly morph into Giannis, who is one of the most physically dominant players to ever play the game.

Wallace never averaged 20 points per game over a full season, a feat Giannis has topped six times, including last year when he was a tick off scoring 30 per game. Giannis is a better rebounder, a better shot blocker and is the focal point of his team on offense, often initiating the action.

Even accounting for the physicality and refereeing of the two eras, there is just no way Rasheed would be scoring an additional 10-15 points per game just because he was a better 3-point shooter. We’re not talking about some black-and-white Bob Cousy era here, this was fewer than 20 years ago, Igoudala and Wallace were in the league at the same time! Giannis was only a year off playing in the NBA with Rasheed.

Giannis is a two-time MVP and perennially in the top-3 vote getters even though he is still somehow just 27-years-old. He’s already been named as one of the top-75 players of all time, and has a chance to be viewed as an all time great by the time he retires, by which time he might have racked up several more MVPs.

I resent Igoudala for putting me in the position to have to go against one of my all time favorite Detroit Pistons, but let’s be real here, as great as Rasheed was, he’s not in the same tier as Giannis.

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