The Great Rasheed Wallace vs. Giannis Stats Debate

min read
Giannis Antetokounmpo celebrates in a recent game.
(Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
Chase Kiddy @chaseakiddy Jul 19, 2022, 2:57 PM

In this summer dry period on the sports calendar, we can sometimes see silly talking points and dumb stories break through the endlessly noisy internet and into the news cycle. 

With that, I present you this wonderfully stupid snippet, with minimal online sports betting value but extremely high entertainment value:

During a recent episode of The Dan Le Batard Show, Warriors forward Andre Iguodala revealed his belief that Rasheed Wallace is better than Giannis Antetokounmpo. 

Or rather, if Wallace played today, he would be better than Giannis. 

Here’s the exact quote: “If Rasheed Wallace played in modern-day basketball, if he played in our league today, he’d be the top-five player in the league,” Iguodala continued. “He’d be better than Giannis, and I love Giannis.”

Rasheed Wallace: Stats Don’t Back Andre Iguodala’s Claim

First of all… no. Let’s just state that upfront. This is dumb, and I’m not sure that anyone outside of Iguodala and Wallace’s immediate family could actually believe this.

To really get into this debate, we probably need to have an interesting discussion about the flow of time and player development. 

For instance, if we could bring Wallace forward in time magically, what does that mean? Are we taking a late 90s/early 2000s power forward and dropping him directly into today’s game? 

The advantage here is that Wallace – a 4-time All-Star from an age that valued strength and toughness over skill and finesse – would be a highly effective bully around the basket. 

Alternatively, are we taking the professional prospect that was Wallace and allowing him to age into adulthood two decades later? That way, he enters the league with the appropriate skill set that most 6-foot-11 millennials have in the NBA right now?

Either way, Wallace is almost certainly not better than Giannis. And considering how essential Giannis’ work ethic and attitude is to his greatness, Iguodala’s argument that Wallace was content to never reach his peak doesn’t convince me at all.

“Rasheed Wallace probably coulda been [a] top-five player in the league for a 10-year stretch,” Iguodala said. “He just chose, ‘I’ll do my thing over here.’ He was shooting threes from half-court, no, he was shooting half-court shots left-handed and right-handed.”

Rasheed Wallace vs. Giannis Stats

Since we don’t have functioning time machines to test either theory, here’s a simple statistical comparison.

I’ve taken Wallace’s best career season – it’s a close call, but I’m going with his 2000-01 season with Portland – and lined it up against Giannis’ numbers from this past season. You tell me which guy is better.

StatRasheed 2000-01Giannis 2021-22
Points Per Game19.2 ppg29.9 ppg
Rebounds Per Game7.8 rpg11.6 rpg
Assists Per Game2.8 apg5.8 apg
Steals Per game1.2 spg1.1 spg
Blocks Per Game1.8 bpg1.4 bpg
Field Goal Percentage50.1%55.3%

I know Iguodala is a smart guy, and he owns one more NBA Finals MVP than I’ll ever get, but this just isn’t a debate.

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About the Author

Chase Kiddy

Read More @chaseakiddy

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.