“Gerald has been so good it’s scary,” Johnson said after yesterday’s practice ahead of tonight’s game against the Pacers at Prudential Center. “He’s just steady. ... He’s a flat-liner. We met this morning in my office and just talked about vision and talking about his role and the team’s not winning, and obviously he wants to win, but he likes what we’re doing here.
“He just wants to learn how he can be of more help in certain situations in leadership with the team. ... It was just a breath of fresh air when he came into my office this morning. He’s been great.”
Wallace, who is averaging 14.7 points and 6.2 rebounds since joining the Nets, admitted he was caught off-guard by the trade initially, saying he didn’t think he was on the block. But after spending some time with the team, Wallace said he is excited about its long-term potential.
“It’s just great working with the young guys, seeing how talented they are,” Wallace said, naming Anthony Morrow and rookie MarShon Brooks as examples. “They just need veteran help. There are some things that I can show them to help them be more consistent, and to improve their game and hopefully take their game to the next level.”
Though the Nets have been dealing with one injury after another, Wallace went through a similar situation in Portland.
Trail Blazers star guard Brandon Roy’s career was cut short before the season began because of knee troubles, and former No. 1 pick Greg Oden struggled with knee issues that led to his release earlier this month.
Now Wallace has joined a Nets team that is trying to cope with several long-term injuries, including having their only reliable low-post scoring threat, Brook Lopez, missing all but five games because of foot and ankle injuries.
That has kept him from seeing what the Nets, led by Johnson and general manager Billy King, hope will be a bright future for the franchise as it transitions to Brooklyn next season.
“I’m still looking at it, and trying to figure this all out,” Wallace said. “But with the talent they have, and with the opportunities they are going to have, I think it’s going to be pretty good.
“Plus, I still haven’t played with Brook. He’s a big piece of this organization, and he’s been out since I’ve been here. ... There’s a piece missing that could potentially boost us over from where we are right now, and I’m looking forward to that.”