Wes Unseld died a year ago.
He was 74 and eulogized throughout the basketball world.
At 6-foot-7, he supposedly was this way too short block of granite who ended up holding his own against all NBA centers, doing it with grit.
The deeply respected Naismith Hall of Fame inductee put the Washington Bullets on his back and led them to the 1978 league championship at the expense of the Seattle Sonics.
So why does it seem he's turning in an encore performance?
That's Isaiah Stewart.
The second coming of Big Wes.
Another Unseld, unreal.
Similarly relying on nonstop effort and desire, the 6-foot-9 Detroit Pistons rookie and former University of Washington big man has set the NBA on its ear over the past week.
On Monday night, Stewart went to work on the Cleveland Cavaliers for 18 points and 16 rebounds in a 109-105.
This followed a career-best 19-point and 12-rebound outing against the Washington Wizards, Unseld's old franchise.
And this came after Stewart went crazy on the backboards against the Oklahoma City Thunder and supplied 15 points and a career-high 21 rebounds, which was one less carom than originally reported.
That's 52 points and 49 rebounds in a week's time.
Actually, the Pistons are willing to compare him now to every bruiser in the organization who came before him.
"He fits the Ben Wallace mode, he fits all the big guys, Rasheed Wallace, the history of big men in the Pistons history," Detroit coach Dwane Casey said.
Against the Cavaliers in his latest outing, Stewart started for veteran center Mason Plumlee and connected on 8 of 12 shots and on defense he stole the ball 3 times and blocked 3 shots.
He's leading the league in persistence, typically battling two players at a time as his reputation grows.
“Every team he is going against now is committing two people to sandwich him on the boards," Casey said. "He's doing a heck of a job of fighting through that and it’s not easy.”
The Pistons started three rookies against Cleveland in Stewart, forward Saddiq Bey and point guard Killian Hayes as they deal with injuries and try to rebuild the franchise.
Finding another Unseld is a good place to start.
Stewart is a formidable pro.
As Casey put it last week, “I wouldn’t rassle Isaiah with an iron pipe.”
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