Birthday: July 23, 1982
Hometown: Childersburg, AL
Years Pro: 11
How He Got Here: When the Nets couldn’t strike a deal for Dwight Howard at the NBA trade deadline, GM Billy King slid immediately to plan B, trading two players out for the season (Mehmet Okur and Shawne Williams) and the team’s 2012 first-round draft pick (top-3 protected) to the Portland Trailblazers for Wallace, on March 15, 2012. They relinquished that pick this season, which the Trailblazers used to pick Damian Lillard.
Contract: Wallace was the first free agent to reach an agreement in the 2012 offseason, agreeing to a four-year deal with the Nets worth $40 million. Wallace signed the deal on July 11, 2012.
Some seek out the spotlight. Not Gerald Wallace. Raised in Childersburg, Alabama (population around 5,000), the laidback country boy with the deepest voice in basketball earned a scholarship to the University of Alabama after winning the Naismith Prep Player of the Year Award in his senior high school season, playing one year before declaring for the 2001 NBA Draft.
He was selected 25th overall by the Sacramento Kings, but didn't flourish until joining the Charlotte Bobcats in 2004, where he developed a reputation as relentless energy, with a particular defensive tenacity. In 2009-10, Wallace led the Bobcats to their first-ever NBA playoffs, averaging 18.2 points and 10 rebounds per game while leading the team in PER and offensive rating. After a short stint in Portland -- his third small-to-mid-market team -- Wallace joined the Nets via trade at the March 2011 trade deadline.
Wallace doesn't ask for accolades or push for All-Star nominations, he just wants to play basketball, even through pain. Now, the starting small forward for the Brooklyn Nets is in the biggest media market he's ever played in, and has said he's "afraid" of the big city. He'll need to get over that fear fast. Luckily, fear never stopped him before.
Wallace’s nickname is “Crash,” and it’s for good reason -- Crash hits the floor with little regard for his (or anyone else’s) personal safety. Wallace is the team’s best perimeter defender, a solid rebounder, and can score in bursts off offensive rebounds and cuts. His no-holds-barred style makes him a terror in transition, and he was talented enough to play point forward in New Jersey, spelling Deron Williams from creating duties.
The 30-year-old Wallace’s production has waned in recent years, as the wear & tear of his no-holds-barred style of play begins to take its toll. "Crash" has recently dealt with hamstring and ankle issues, though he did think he was strong enough to play at the end of last season. His defensive metrics have also slipped in the past few years, perhaps due to checking out once his teams were out of contention. Wallace is not a particularly strong shooter, hitting just 27.4% of his threes from above the break and 25.5% of his midrange shots from the left side.
Three revealing numbers
1) 17.4. Wallace's career PER of 17.4 nearly doubles the PER of Nets small forwards from a year earlier (9.1). His PER of 17.2 in 16 games with the Nets last season is higher than any PER from a Nets small forward since Richard Jefferson's 17.4 PER in 2007-08.
2) .318. Wallace shot well from beyond the arc last season with the Nets, hitting threes at a 38.5% clip, but Nets fans shouldn't expect that to continue: Wallace's career three-point percentage is just .318, and he hit that .385 number in the small sample size of just 52 attempts.
3) 11.2. Wallace has missed 56 games in the last five seasons, or an average of about 11 games per season. With the Nets thin at the forward spot, expect a lot of lineup juggling should Wallace miss time.
Pause it at 4 seconds!
Now press play.
From The Coach
“Gerald has been so good it’s scary. (It's) not just about points and rebounding and defense, but he’s just steady."
Tattoos: Wallace has tattoos up and down his arms, including one on his right hand. He does not talk about them.
Fun Fact: In the Nets’ “Hello Brooklyn” ad campaigns, Wallace is noted as an “offseason fisherman.” It’s true: Wallace built a 2 1/2 acre lake in the backyard of his Alabama home for the sole purpose of leisure fishing.