Someone on the TNT crew brought up Rasheed Wallace’s alleged lack of conditioning during Thursday night’s Spurs game, and Grant Long, the Thunder TV analyst, said Friday night that Sheed looked 15 pounds heavier than Long remembered.
Sheed certainly isn’t as skinny as he was during his early years with Portland (or even with Detroit in the middle of this decade), but he never struck me as wildly out of shape.
Then commenter N21 brought a recent ESPN NBA Today podcast in which Ric Bucher described Sheed’s physical condition to host Ryen Russillo.
The podcast in question took place on Nov. 23rd, and here’s what Bucher said about Sheed:
“As for Sheed, I’ve got to tell you. The most startling thing–this is a guy who has always played his way into shape. But I went into the locker room after the game, and he took off his shirt, and I mean, I could not believe what I saw. I mean, he looked like a guy who is on the couch watching games with a bowl of potato chips and a six pack and not a guy who is playing a game. The roll I saw hanging off of his shorts—I’ve never seen it on him before and I can’t tell you the last guy I saw that had a body like that. He’s not Popeye Jones-esque, but it was a very, very bad look.”
“The biggest risk there is that’s how you get injured–when you’re out of shape and you’re forced to play more minutes. And there are going to be cases where he’s gonna have to do that.”
So: Does Sheed look that out of shape to you guys?
If so, it wouldn’t exactly be a first-time occurrence for Sheed. He reportedly game into camp out of shape in 2006, but that was in part because he played most of the playoffs the spring before with a serious ankle injury and had to spend the off-season resting, according to FanHouse.
And in 2004, Larry Brown admitted he was surprised by Sheed’s lack of conditioning after the Pistons acquired Wallace in a trade deadline deal, according to this piece in the Oregonian.
Here’s what coach Brown said in Feb. 2004 after one of Sheed’s first games with the Pistons:
“I’m trying to figure out how to use him. I don’t think he’s in a great shape, to be honest with you.”
Four months later, the Pistons trounced the Lakers and experts praised Sheed as the missing piece that put Detroit over the top.
So let’s revisit this topic in the middle of the season before we get too worried.