Jobless, branded by many as 'a team killer', 'locker room cancer', and he's coming off the least productive season of his otherwise All Star, sure fire Hall of Fame career.
No one can argue that A.I is one of the most talented players to play in this generation. But what exactly has he got left in the tank? Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of him, but you can't argue with last season. But how fair are we being to A.I? 17.5ppg is a pretty nice figure for a guard in the NBA. But on the other hand, this is Allen Iverson we're talking about.
So what was up with A.I last year? I'm used to seeing Iverson taking the ball up the court, driving the basket, getting the lay-in or drawing the foul and sinking 2 at the line. Creating his own shot from nothing. Running rings around hapless defenders. Remember that crossover on Michael Jordan? These are the things I think of when I think of Iverson.
From what I saw last year, he's still driving the lane just fine. He just can't finish that shot. And the fouls are no longer coming. On average he was taking 6 foul shots a game last year, as opposed to an average of 9.5 for the previous 5 seasons. And when he did get to the line, his free throw percentage was the lowest its been in 6 years. And the worst thing last year was the resurfacement of that bad attitude. He refused to accept a lesser role, despite the fact that he must surely know that he's not the A.I of old.
So where does A.I stand when it comes to this season? The rumours going about say the Clippers and the Bobcats are interested in him. If these rumours are true, I'm wondering what the point of a move to one of those teams would be.
What would the Clippers want from him? A.I has made it clear hes not willing to come off the bench. So how are you going to fit him into your starting line up? You've got Eric Gordon who was your first round pick the year before, and had a promising first season, so that's the 2 spot out of the question. They signed Baron Davis to a multi-year deal the off season before, so that's the 1 spot gone too. Move Ben Gordon to the 3 and start A.I at the 2? Radical, I know. But that would put Al Thornton, another promising youngster to the bench. No thanks. That's not a good fit.
The Bobcats poses an interesting theory. Reuniting Iverson with Larry Brown, in Iverson's own words 'the best coach in the world', seems to make a bit of sense. But there were always ups and downs with A.I and Larry Brown. If A.I underperforms, what happens then? Iverson made it clear that he won't come off the bench. And Brown isn't the kind of guy that would be bullied by a player like Iverson. Irresistible Force meets the Immovable Object? Seems so. And would you really want Iverson on your team taking shots and minutes away from younger, highly talented players like Gerald Wallace and D.J Augustin?
Is Iverson worth a gamble by these teams? Personally, I think he still has one, maybe two highly productive years left in him. But the question is, will Allen Iverson find a team thats willing to take that gamble? We'll have to wait and see.