Saturday, January 2, 2010

Allen Iverson Update Post

(Photo from MoonDogSports)
Allen Iverson has played 11 games this season. Three off the bench for the Grizzlies, and eight for the 76ers as a starter. First things first, YES, HE CAN STILL PLAY. But let's dig a little deeper. For the Grizzlies, off the bench, he was 0-3 (3 away games @ Sacramento, Golden State and LA Lakers). You could say that the Grizzlies at that time were a lost team anyway and would have lost those games with or without AI on the bench, starting, on the team, or not, but the Grizzlies have been putting on an impressive showing the past few weeks with wins against Dallas, Cleveland, Denver and a close game (loss) against Boston. But you could also say that the Grizzlies have gotten some inspired play from Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph (wow). I can't say I know how the team operates with and without AI because none of their games are televised and I've only seen one game against the Clippers (3 pt loss, without AI).

(Photo from GGPHT)
Fast forward to his desired role as a starter on the 76ers and his record up until today is 3-5. He was injured for 4 games in between those eight he played where the 76ers went 1-3. But back to AI's 3 wins (Portland, Golden State, Sacramento) and 5 losses (Denver, Detroit, Houston, Cleveland, and just before the 2010 ball dropped, the Clippers). The most significant injury we should take note of is Lou Williams, who was doing well as a starting guard before AI came. Williams was out and recently came back for the 3 game losing streak (reserve for first 2 games, starter for 3rd) and the 2 wins when AI came back and with whom he started alongside, and then the loss to the Clippers.

For the 76ers, he's shooting 43.3% from the field, getting 15.5 points, 4.4 assists and 1.1 steals a game. Yes he can still play. But is he the answer? No. But let's also note that these 76ers aren't that good. Elton Brand has been anything but the star they paid for a year ago and has been demoted to 6th man duties. Andre Iguodala is doing his all around game at almost 19 points, 6.8 ast, and 5.7 rebounds (with 1.9 steals a game). Dalembert is doing his thing getting boards and blocks. Thaddeus Young has been doing well as a starting forward getting 15 points and 5 boards. Add to those starters Willie Green, Marreese Speights, and Jason Kapono etc. and you have a team that people would get excited about if this team was together maybe 5 years ago. Now, they are 9-23 only better than New Jersey, good for 14th in the East.

As said before, AI can play. He doesn't seem to be ball hogging, averaging 11 shots a game and 6 trips to the FT line. His coach has been happy with his performance and even AI himself has said he's there to help his teammates gain confidence (Yahoo Sports). Iverson can play but he isn't going to transform a team into a instant contender. No one should really be surprised as it's been said since he stopped playing for Detroit last year. He didn't transform the Grizzlies, and he's not transforming the 76ers. As everyone said and agreed to, he'd be a great bench player for a contender but again, his pride might be in the way.

AI cried during his press interview when the 76ers signed him. Perhaps Larry Brown was right when he said AI was a little embarrassed that every team wasn't going out of their way to sign him. The fact is, AI is an undersized SG who get's a lot of steals by playing passing lanes but is susceptible to being beat by the league's better PGs in one on one situations. He made up for it during his prime by scoring 30 points a game and outrunning those same PGs on offense but GMs have taken notice and don't want to give him the starting nod over their younger up and coming PGs. Take a look at all the teams in the league. Who needs AI as a starting PG? Even the worst teams are fine at starting PG: The Nets have Devin Harris. Sacramento has Tyreke Evans. The Warriors have Stephen Curry/Monta Ellis. Detroit and Washington have Rodney Stuckey and Gilbert Arenas. If Lou Williams hadn't gotten hurt, would Philly have gone after AI? Maybe not: AI signed a one year deal for a little over $1 million. NOT A LONG TERM PLAN as they also drafted Jrue Holiday this summer.

So what's going to happen this summer when AI is a free agent again? It doesn't look like any team needs him as a starting PG. Will he retire again? Do what every sports writer wanted him to do and be a bench player on a contender? Who knows? This is only your update.


KneeJerkNBA said...

I hope he retires a Sixer. He should go out like Reggie Miller.

Maroussia said...

It will be great to watch Golden State Warriors, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.