ALLEN IVERSON…NOT THE ANSWER IN DETROIT

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ALLEN IVERSON…NOT THE ANSWER IN DETROIT

 

When I heard that the Pistons had made a blockbuster trade I, like many other Detroit sports fans, thought “Good, some new blood. Whoever we got will give the Pistons that shot in the arm that’ll launch them back to elite status in the NBA”. But when I found out that Joe Dumars has traded away Chauncey Billups and the player he got in return was the one and only Allen Iverson my heart sank to the floor and now every Piston fan is finding out why.

 

Iverson is a first ballot Hall of Fame member. Of that there is no doubt in my mind. He single handedly carried an vastly undermanned 76er’s tteam to the finals and actually beat arguably the greatest playoff team of all time in the 2000 Lakers, in Game 1. Iverson is one of the most accomplished scorer’s of all time and is most definitely the toughest player I have ever seen with a ball in his hands. He has overcome an enormous size disadvantage and has been nothing less than a superstar throughout his entire NBA career.

 

But I hate him.

 

Yes, Hate; Especially now that he’s on the Pistons.

 

Allen Iverson has done nothing good for this team, in fact he has made what many still thought could be a Finals team, into a squad that is hoping to have home court in the first round. On the court Iverson has been nothing but disruptive for several reasons But most importantly HE IS NOT A POINT GUARD. How many times can teams try and fail to turn him into what he least resembles? Iverson has been the greediest shooter in the league his entire career but it was thought that bringing him into a group that was so cohesive that he would change and become a team player. But like they say “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” and instead AI has made this group more like him. Players like Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace are jacking up shots they have no business taking and doing it at alarming rates. The on the court Pistons have gone from a unit that ran a balanced offense through a mainstay at Point Guard to a team that no longer has that steadying influence and instead has the most Me-First player in the history of the game running the show.

 

What made those championship Pistons so great was their sense of unity, playing for one another and fighting to prove, despite all the disrespect, that they were the best team in the league…PERIOD.Iverson has changed everything. He has brought a “Me-First” attitude to a clubhouse where guys like Rasheed Wallace don’t need a lot of persuading to start acting like idiots with the ball.

 

Iverson deserves to be ripped but Joe Dumars, who many including myself believe to be one of the best executives in this or any sport, made an enormous mistake making this deal. At first glance the trade actually makes sense, AI can score and the Pistons have never had an explosive scorer who can get his own shot. They have always relied upon screens to get Rip open, Post-ups from Tayshaun and 3’s from Rasheed, never have they had a player who can get to the hole and make his shots. I understand bringing AI in from that standpoint and that standpoint alone.

 

But he wastes possesions at an absolutely ridiculus rate. Every single game you see Iverson get the ball off the in-bounds pass, dribble into the lane a take an off balance shot from the elbow at least four times. That’s eight points right there that are left on the court. That margin could decide probably 75% of the games played in the NBA! In that regard Chauncey Billups is one of the best and Allen Iverson is the worst player in the league.

 

Off the court the Answer has been nothing but divisive his entire career (Practice?) and he has never had to be on a true team like the Pistons had. He played by himself for so long in Philadelphia that he has forgotten what it was like to be on a team. Look at what has happened when teams have tried that with him. The Sixers brought in Chris Webber, in 2005, thinking it would put the team over the top, what happened? They lost in the First round to the Pistons and traded Iverson midway through the 2006 season. He paired with Carmelo Anthony in Denver, what happened? The Nuggets lost twice in the first round, traded Iverson, and are now thriving with a steadying force at Point Guard in Chauncey Billups.

 

I understand that Dumars made this trade with the bonanza of 2010 free agents in mind. (For those of you who don’t know Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki just to name a few will all be free agents that summer) But the line has to be drawn somewhere.

 

Iverson’s contract (along with Sheed’s) will come off the book next year and that is great for the future, but in looking down the road Dumars has sacrificed the present. This was a team that looked poised to return to glory under new coach Michael Curry and with Rodney Stuckey and Jason Maxiell turning into stars. But trading away Chauncey Billups changed all of that. He wasn’t what he used to be but he was the glue of this core of players, he was the heartbeat that guided the Pistons.

 

Joe D traded away the pacemaker and now the Pistons are having heart attacks, and this season in Detroit there is no answer.

 

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