The free agency period has begun. ESPN, and other media outlets have attempted to persuade you that Allen Iverson would not be a welcomed addition to an NBA roster next season. "He doesn't have enough in the tank. He's a liability on the defensive end. He has to have the ball in order to be effective. He'll be a cancer in the locker room. He won't accept a limited role.." Blah, Blah, Blah.. Allen Iverson remains a NBA superstar that should and will be playing for an NBA team next season. Here are reasons, Allen Iverson can still help your team.
"Don't blame me, blame the guy to my left." You can't blame Allen Iverson for the Detroit debacle last season. Curry was way out of his league in his first head coaching job with the Pistons. He sent Allen Iverson to the bench along with Rip Hamilton and caused a division in the locker room. He could not motivate an unmotivated Rasheed Wallace or encourage him to put defenders in the post instead of shooting 20 footers. Detroit did not play any defense like the glory years. Chauncey Billups could not have helped this teams chances to win the East with Curry as the coach. A good coach could have made this union work in Detroit. Curry had no offensive scheme, poor substitution patterns, and lacked in game adjustments. Even through this 50 game stretch with the Pistons, Allen averaged 17.4 points, 4.9 assists, and 1.9 steals a game.
Point guards need to have good handles in the NBA game. Allen still has the handles that made him a household name. You still remember the Crossover on MJ like it was yesterday, don't you. You still remember when David Stern had to adjust the rules, because Allen was an assassin with the rock. Allen can still break a double team off the dribble and remains one of the quickest guards in the game from baseline to baseline. Half the PG's in the game get rattled by a double team or trap. Allen Iverson can get by a defender with either hand. If this is a team need, Allen Iverson can help.
Fans follow AI and attend games on the road just to see him play. Allen's NBA jersey sales are in the top 5 every year for the league. He packs arenas with his play on the court. In these economic times, every team needs All-STAR Power to pay the bills and keep the fans interested. It's not a coincidence that Allen Iverson was voted to the allstar game this season, after having his most significant drop in stats since he turned pro. He put Reebok on his back and brought them out of obscurity. Can you say, STAR power? Any team will be getting a motivated Iverson for a reduced price. He knows his max out contract days are over. If your team needs STAR power, AI's your man.
Contrary, to popular belief, Allen plays defense and remains in the top 10 in steals per game every year. He's has good anticipation and quick hands on the defensive end. He has a good wing span! (Thanks J. Bilas) Not a great on ball defender, but not many players are. Besides, if he has a hard time guarding his defender, imagine what that player has to go through when AI is on the offensive. AI can't be guarded one on one. Doesn't your team need to get open shots due to a great player getting double teamed, then AI is your man.
Bigger, taller, faster, doesn't matter to AI. He's goes 100% all game, and makes his defender play defense or end up on a ESPN highlight. AI can get his shot off and can get to the rim better than most guards in the NBA. He gets to the free throw line, and makes close to 80% for his career. He plays hard, he hits the floor, he gets banged up, but he gets back up. He plays injured. He's battle tested. He'll go to war with you. Contrary to belief he's not scared to pass the ball, either. lol. He's had to dominate the rock on subpar teams. He did not dominate the ball with Denver or the Pistons.
NBA Rookie of the Year (1997)
NBA All-Star Rookie Game Most Valuable Player (1997)
1997 NBA All-Rookie Team
NBA Most Valuable Player (2001)
2× NBA All-Star Game MVP (2001, 2005)
3× All-NBA First Team
3× All-NBA Second Team
10× NBA All-Star
3× Steals leader (2001, 2002, 2003)
7× All-NBA selection
4× NBA scoring champion (1999, 2001, 2002, 2005)
Substance over potential. Keep waiting on your draft picks, and see if they will ever match up to these stats.