Rasheed Wallace's Retirement Opens Up Role for Earl Barron

Tim KeeneyContributor IApril 17, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 19:  Earl Barron #30 (L) and Jordan Crawford #15 (R) of the Washington Wizards go after the ball against Sam Young #4 of the Indiana Pacers at Verizon Center on November 19, 2012 in Washington, DC.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

New York Knicks fans were undoubtedly overcome with sadness at the news of Rasheed Wallace's retirement, but his departure opens up a role for Earl Barron in the playoffs.

Well, there's a sentence I wasn't expecting to type today.

And just so you know this isn't some late April Fools joke, here's proof (via HOOPSWORLD's Alex Kennedy):

You may think this news is about as important as what I had for breakfast 34 days ago (Fruity Pebbles, probably), but rest assured the Knicks made this move for a reason. 

Barron, a veteran journeyman in every sense of the word, has played for seven different teams in seven seasons. He is 7'0", 245 pounds, has a decent mid-range jumper and can be a force on the glass. 

Knicks fans, of course, will remember him for the 11.7 points and 11.0 rebounds he averaged in seven games during the 2009-10 season, which happened to include a dominant performance against New York's Round 1 opponent, the Boston Celtics.

And, coincidentally enough, Rasheed Wallace:

That's not to suggest he's going to have anything close to the same kind of impact. These are both two very different teams, and in the three seasons since, Barron has tallied a whopping 34 games played.

But he'll serve a purpose, most notably for depth.

Amar'e Stoudemire is unlikely to return anytime soon. Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin should be available for the start of the playoffs, but they haven't been the perfect pictures of health. Same goes for Marcus Camby

Is Barron going to be called upon to log 30 minutes per game? Of course not, but with the way things are going, with New York's cumulative age in the frontcourt and with the amount of time 6'8" Chris Copeland has logged at "center" recently, the D-League star could be used sparingly in certain spots. 

During that time, he will provide hustle and energy, he'll rebound (8.9 rebounds per 36 minutes in his career) and he'll defend (1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks per 36 minutes during this year's stint with the Washington Wizards).

Essentially, he'll be there as someone who can do the dirty work in an emergency.

Again, Barron isn't someone to brag to your Miami Heat friends about, unless you feel like getting laughed at, but he can serve an underrated role and play a part in New York's anticipated postseason run.