Allen Iverson Can Be Like Shaquille O'Neal Or Kevin Garnett

Ro ShiellAnalyst INovember 16, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 06:  Allen Iverson #3 of the Memphis Grizzlies on the court against the Los Angeles Lakers on November 6, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 114-98. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

There is a good chance that he may still be able to lead the league in points at the age of 34. However his only stumbling block might be finding a team willing to sacrifice winning.

After the Denver/Detroit experiment it is clear that Allen Iverson might need to do some rethinking about his career.

In the NBA, a career can last on average between 10 and 12 years if a player can avoid injuries. Most franchise players are less than 34 years of age.

Allen Iverson is 34 and has been in the league for over 12 years.

He has won several individual titles, including most valuable player (MVP) and NBA scoring champion but has only been to the finals once.

Most leaders realize at this stage they would need to take a step back as injuries, loss of athletic ability, etc, may slow them down.

This is particular evident on the current Boston Celtics. Kevin Garnet played for the Minnesota Timberwolves for 12 years. He won an MVP title in 2003 and was an All Star for 11 years.

In 2007 with his career winding down he left Minnesota and teamed up with two more All Stars who had yet to win a championship.

Having Ray Allen and Paul Pierce as team mates, Garnet was able to concentrate on Defense rather than be the “do everything player” he was in Minnesota.

He is now a champion.

Shaquille O’Neil is one of the greatest centers to play the game. His savvy is not only restricted to his ability to put the ball in the hoop.

After leaving the Lakers a three time champion, he went to Miami who had an emerging young star in Dwayne Wade along with a solid veteran nucleus.

In 2006, Shaq received his fourth NBA ring.

He has now teamed up with Lebron James in Cleveland and is currently in the hunt for a fifth title.

This is not a new phenomenon. Players have always done this throughout NBA history. Like Iverson’s choice of Memphis some veterans might have regretted their decisions.

Dominic Wilkins was a nine time All Star for Atlanta until he was unceremoniously traded to the L.A Clippers in the early 90’s. After becoming a free agent in 1993 he signed with the Celtics who at the time were in a major rebuilding mode.

Like Iverson he was very unhappy with his role and left the team.

The same could have been said for Patrick Ewing when he left New York Knicks in 2000. He was traded to Seattle Supersonics but left at the end of the season when his contract expired.

He could have joined a contender but he chose to take his aging  knees to Orlando Magic who had a yearly battle making the playoffs and subsequently retired.

If Ewing wanted inspiration all he had to do was look up Bill Cartwright who, like Ewing, was originally drafted by the Knicks. Cartwright was 20 point scorer right from start and spent eight years in New York until he joined Chicago in 1989.

He went on to win three championships as the defensive anchor for the Chicago Bulls.

Whether it is just setting up team mates or protecting the ball there are a few teams that can use the service of Iverson at the moment.

Teams that will contend for a title.

NBA analysts have claimed that the Magic were let down by point guard play in the NBA finals last year. They still have Jameer Nelson and added Vince Cater, but what if they had a happy Iverson?

Currently the Celtics have only one true point guard in Rajon Rondo.

Ron Harper was in the NBA ten years when he decided to join the Chicago Bulls in 1994. The year before he averaged 20 pts 4.6 assts and 6.1 rebounds for the Clippers.

He won three championships with the Bull but he never averaged any more than 7 points per game. His defense and direction were key components of that team.

Anyone could argue that unlike Harper Iverson was a one time MVP. So was Bill Walton who reinvented himself with the Celtics and won another championship as a sixth man.

Fans think it is time Iverson "wise up". Is it too late?