Is Ben Wallace a Hall of Famer?
It’s funny how many people haven’t realized the NBA doesn’t give out “Comeback Player of the Year” anymore. Back in the mid-’80s — not coincidentally, during the Crack Boom — David Stern realized the CPOY award was starting to become the “Who recovered from a drug problem?” trophy, so he phased it out and turned it into the Most Improved Player award. There hasn’t been a CPOY since 1986, and yet even today, you’ll get people arguing for guys like Grant Hill and Shaun Livingston to win an award that doesn’t exist.
If there was a Comeback Player of the Year, though, in 2010 it would have belonged to Ben Wallace. After he appeared to be washed-up over the last couple years with the Bulls and Cavs, Big Ben returned to Detroit this season and proved he can still play. Though injuries limited him to 69 games, Wallace averaged 5.5 points, 8.7 rebounds (leading the team) and 1.2 blocks as the Pistons’ (in 29mpg) full-time starting center.