Ben Wallace has had an outsized presence with the Detroit Pistons this year. The organization tapped him to virtually represent the team at the NBA draft Lottery in June. He became the first undrafted player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in September, and several current Piston players attended his ceremony. And he was an unofficial assistant coach during training camp, guiding their big men through defensive drills.
The Pistons have now formalized his role within the organization. On Friday, the team announced that Wallace is the new basketball operations and team engagement advisor.
Wallace will assists in all facets of the organization as a player development coach and mentor for both the Pistons and Motor City Cruise, and also assist with various business and community efforts.
“Ben is a Hall of Famer and a Pistons legend who has continued to come back home and support our team and our organization,” team owner Tom Gores said in a press release. “He embodies everything we are building here and will be a real asset to Dwane, Troy and the rest of our staff. Ben helped set the standard for what it means to be a Piston and will be a tremendous influence for our young players.”
Wallace is one of the greatest players in Pistons history, earning four Defensive Player of the Year awards between 2002 and 2006 and forming the backbone of the 2004 championship team’s spirit. The current front office, led by Troy Weaver, made it a point to establish a relationship with Wallace, and he’s been a familiar presence with the team in recent months.
Arn Tellem, who has been the Pistons’ vice chairman since 2015, was Wallace’s agent during his 16-year career. Wallace became better-acquainted with Gores and the rest of the ownership team after his jersey was retired in 2016. In 2018, he joined the Grand Rapids Drive, then the Pistons’ G League affiliate, as a minority owner (though he no longer fills that role; the franchise in Grand Rapids is now called the Gold and is affiliated with the Denver Nuggets).
While addressing the media before June’s draft lottery, Wallace expressed an interest in a hybrid coaching role. He said he knows the X’s and O’s of the game and can handle player personalities. Those skills will come in handy with his new role.
“I think my knowledge of the game and what I can bring to the game, it goes a little bit past coaching,” Wallace. “I just think I have a lot more to give to the game than just coaching. I can recognize talent. I just feel like given the opportunity, especially when it comes to the game of basketball, that I can be successful in almost any role.”
Dwane Casey and the coaching staff is certainly looking forward to having Wallace around on a permanent basis.
“Huge, huge,” Casey said last week. “Just showing them tricks of the trade, post defense. Ben is going to be with us this week in training camp working with our big guys with post defense and showing them the tricks of the trade there. Just to have Ben around and have him as an example for Isaiah and Luka (Garza) and Kelly (Olynyk) is so important just because of his experience and what he’s done and what he means to this franchise.”
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Pistons formalize Ben Wallace’s role with organization
Source: Yahoo Sports