Rasheed Wallace was on the court with the Knicks for a second straight day Monday, working out with players before the game against the Nets. It’s just a short-term volunteer effort for Wallace, 44, who spent one season as an assistant coach for the Pistons after ending his playing career with the Knicks in 2012-13.
Knicks coach David Fizdale has brought in a number of former players — Patrick Ewing, Chris Bosh and now Wallace — to speak to his young team.
“I think he’s here for a couple more days and then he’s got to go back to his own life,” Fizdale said. “And then we’ll bring him out periodically throughout the year or he’ll meet us in places. Like I said, it’s a great injection of energy and IQ. And the guys really like him.
“We’re not talking about [a larger role] yet. It’s the same kind of deal that we’re using a lot of different people for expertise and knowledge to these young guys. I’m going to have a lot of different people come out during the year. Like I said before, we’ve already talked to Chauncey [Billups] about coming out and spending some time and some other different guys.”
Fizdale said he didn’t do much of this in his time as the Grizzlies’ coach because they had a veteran team but noted, “This is a different group. This is almost a college team. I want to give them all of the resources, all of the education, that I can give them. Hopefully, that fast-tracks them through this year.”
Wallace spent a lot of time with Mitchell Robinson, the 19-year-old who skipped college ball and has quickly taken on a larger- than-expected role for the Knicks. He started for a second straight game Monday. Robinson actually had a connection with Wallace, who played at the University of North Carolina with Shammond Williams, who is Robinson’s godfather.
“They can give perspective that I can’t,” Fizdale said. “I didn’t play in the league. I didn’t go through the ups and downs. And so there’s a lot of guys in this league I’ve crossed paths with or that’s been a part of this organization long before me that I feel like can give these guys insight that I can never give them — about being a New York Knick, about being an NBA player.
“We have a big pool of guys that we can dig into, so why not use them? It’s a real value to these guys and they need to know their history. A lot of these young players sometimes, you can ask them a question about the history of the game and they won’t know about it. So I like to put it right in their face so they can learn.”