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No answer

Chris Ballard of Sports Illustrated summed up very well what I think about Allen Iverson.

When I think back on all those great AI moments from his Philly days, are the memories selective? What about all the awed teammates left stranded (and open) on the wing, and the sidekicks he ran out of town and the fact that — oh, yeah — his was the Olympic team that finished with a bronze medal?

Maybe that 76ers run to the Finals in 2001 was more the masterwork of Larry Brown, a coach smart enough to minimize the liabilities of a 6-foot, ball-dominating two guard. After all, with Brown, AI’s Sixers averaged 45 wins in full seasons; without Brown, they averaged 34. And you can blame it on the supporting cast, but keep in mind that they didn’t get a chance to do much supporting: Iverson led the league in percentage of his team’s possessions used six times in a seven-year stretch. “There was a reason he got all the credit, and that’s because he scored most of the points,” says Eric Snow, AI’s backcourt mate in Philly. “But that team was much better than people gave us credit for. A lot of guys aren’t willing to make the sacrifices we made.”

Before he joined the Pistons, here are a few things I thought about AI:

  • He’s a better on-ball defender than he gets credit for.
  • Although he doesn’t choose to often, he’s a tremendous passer.
  • If he wanted to be, he has the tools to be one of the league’s best pure point guards.
  • He doesn’t always know the best way to do it, but deep down, he has an intense desire to win.

After seeing him up close this year, I don’t know if I should believe any of those. Maybe, at 33, he can’t do those things anymore. But maybe he never could.

When Joe Dumars first became the Pistons’ GM, he tried to trade for Iverson, but Matt Geiger used his no-trade clause to block the deal. I’d say everything worked out for Detroit, but I wonder what would have happened had the trade gone through?

Would Detroit have seen Iverson’s deficiencies sooner? Or was Iverson that much better then?

Iverson has always been a player I’ve admired from afar. I wasn’t sure if I wanted him on my team, but he was sure fun to watch.

Now, the only feeling is bitterness toward Iverson for destroying the Pistons.

So, was this a quick decline for Iverson or a revealing of what we should have realized all along?

I have no answer.

7 Comments

  • May 25, 200910:43 am
    by Mo

    Reply

    AI was never the type of player the Pistons needed. He was not Joe’s first choice let be real. While AI has had great moments as an individual player he has had very few if any as a Team player. I loved his ability to be tuff but he was always a selfish player. All great players have egos, but his latest showing of selfishness should end his career. By admitting he could never come of the bench AI has proven that during all his years in the NBA he has never learned how to make himself and his teammates winners. He has never learned how to be a team player. Yes Larry Brown made him the player he was and he knows this. I am sure he wishes he would have learned from him like Billups did instead of just listening. At 33 if he was any other player with the isues he has he would not be in the league, but AI can still sell tickets. I understand that trading Billups was business. I just do not know why Joe Dumars did not use Billups and another player to get what he really wanted. I am not an NBA executive and he is. I admire the work he has done and feel he will get the Pistons back to the top again. AI is a lost cause unless he can get he head and his heart right. Does he want to win or does he want to be a star. Wining and being a star usually go hand in hand.

    • May 28, 20092:22 am
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      “I just do not know why Joe Dumars did not use Billups and another player to get what he really wanted.”

      At the time, that’s what Dumars thought he was doing. Iverson wasn’t acquired just for his cap room. Dumars thought AI could be a game-changer. Hindsight is 20-20, but that was part of the deal.

  • May 28, 200912:01 am
    by Bubabchuck

    Reply

    Hey, Piston’s failure is not really AI’s fault. I believe it was just AI and Rip being in the same court. They play the same spot and play different kind of basketball. So it was not really AI’s fault. I still believe he will be successful in other team.

    • May 28, 20092:33 am
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      The numbers support you.

      Pistons with Iverson and not Hamilton: 6-2 (.750, equivalent to 62 wins during a full season)

      Pistons with Hamilton and not Iverson: 14-7 (.667, 55 wins)

      Pistons with both: 18-28 (.391, 32 wins)

      Pistons with neither: 1-6 (.143, 12 wins)

  • May 30, 20094:19 am
    by Brandon Jewell

    Reply

    I think it’s mostly a matter of Micheal Curry and Rodney Stuckey that wrecked the team. Stuckey would have most benefitted from coming off the bench for a top fifty greatest player and an all-star. Allen Iverson should have been the point guard as he averages around 7 or 8 apg over his career. AI and Rip should have started because AI could get Rip the shots he needs to be successful and Rip’s offensive presence would allow AI to get to the basket. Stuckey also has better chemistry with Aaron Afflalo who should get more playing time as the best perimeter defender on the team. Maxiell should have started this year he is a great rebounder, scorer and shot-blocker and he even shows off when he gets minutes and when he starts the team is better that way and Mcdyess is better off the bench. Amir Johnson is the best backup for Rasheed but his teammates need to help him out a lot they give him bad shots in horrible positions to score also. Amir is actually a great shooter from everywhere except ft which would probably change with more attempts that would come with more playing time and shots. Walter Hermann needed to play with Bynum or Iverson to be affective because they get him good shots that he doesn’t need to be hot to make and Stuckey is not a point guard. This coach needs to be replaced with a real coach like Avery Johnson, or the team needs to be broken and rebuilded with five superstars that are great offensively and defensively and can play the whole game every game because his bench is nonexistent. bottom line trade Prince and Sheed for a superstar frontcourt player or a pure point guard

    • May 30, 200912:33 pm
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      Iverson only averaged so many assists because the ball was in his hands so much. I don’t think Iverson would have been a good point guard for the Pistons. Plus, that would have meant Will Bynum would never play.

      Stuckey could be the long-term answer at point guard. Afflalo is not at shooting guard. Stuckey learning to play with Afflalo would have helped nothing.

  • Jun 5, 200910:00 pm
    by jeremy

    Reply

    iverson was and is still one of the greatist men in the game. he did not destroy detroit they gave one of the best players of the game a position on the bench when they should have sorounded him with players and got past the first round in the playoffs a player of hist stature needs confidence not just in himsef but in his teamates as well to trust him and let him be iverson ive alot of respect for iverson everybody who knows the game knows he is a great player and all the pistons who whined and really never even gave him a shot which was bull they all acted like a bunch of babies i mean come on you get paid millions of dollars a year and you should be able to try and get along with iverson or for that anybody so to the pistons mature up and to iverson keep truckin man your my idle you brought me to love basketball oh yeah good luck next year i fallow dwane wade alot now but ive still got my eye alwys on you me and my gurl.

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