Allen Iverson To the Knicks: Why Not?

Taylor SmithAnalyst INovember 20, 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

First of all, let me say that I didn't think it was possible for Allen Iverson to actually have a worse stop than he did in Detroit last season.

The photo above is quite the rare one: it captures Allen Iverson playing in a Memphis Grizzlies uniform.

That was quick, wasn't it?

Typically, it seems as though professional athletes lose the "me first" attitude as their careers progress, instead focusing more of their efforts and thoughts to trying to win before they have to retire.

Now, this is not to say that all athletes suffer from "me first syndrome."

I doubt guys like Jeff Saturday are playing sports for the individual glory.

However, Allen Iverson, clearly, has not gotten over himself as a basketball player.

Iverson, 34, recently agreed to "part ways" with the Grizzlies after playing just three games for them.

Apparently, coming off the bench and accepting a lesser role in order to help the team was not on Iverson's agenda for his tenure in Memphis.

The Grizzlies have a budding star at shooting guard in OJ Mayo, and a young point guard, Mike Conley, that they are hoping turns into one of the more reliable point men in the league.

As I wrote here a couple of months ago, Iverson was a terrible fit for the Grizzlies, whether he was coming off the bench or starting.

Besides, how was his role not made clear to him until he actually joined the team for his first regular season game?

Shouldn't Chris Wallace and Lionel Hollins have notified him that if he were to become a Grizzly, he'd be playing as a reserve?


Anyway, Iverson's lack of maturity has never been a secret.

There's a reason he was forced to settle on Memphis this summer. Nobody wanted him.

The Grizzlies had nothing to lose, so they gave him a one-year deal, hoping he'd draw some fan interest and put some people in the seats.

However, the entire thing obviously blew up in their faces, and now Iverson is a free agent, and the Grizzlies are free of a headache.

Now, rumors are swirling that there is mutual interest between Iverson and the New York Knicks.

I say, why not?

The Knicks are 2-9, and are actually worse than the Grizzlies are.

Their roster is full of players on the last year of their respective contracts, and the Knicks clearly don't really care what happens record-wise this season.

Their sights are, and have been, set on the summer of 2010.

The Knicks play an up-tempo style with head coach Mike D'Antoni (remember him?), and maybe Iverson would thrive in this style of play.

If he were to become a Knick, he'd replace either Larry Hughes or Chris Duhon in the starting lineup.

The signing would draw some interest, and, since they have no clear star player, why shouldn't the Knicks take a flier on him?

There's a solid chance Iverson could be a 20-point scorer for them again, and people enjoy watching the guy play.

The guy that should have the biggest problem with this is rookie guard Toney Douglas, and I can't blame him.

Douglas, a second-round pick from Florida State, has been a nice find for New York.

In his only three games playing more than 20 minutes, he's scored 21, 23, and 15 points.

Douglas is listed at 6'1", but has been seen as more of a combo-guard due to his knack for scoring.

The Knicks also have another young, exciting guard in Nate Robinson.

The 5'9" Robinson is best known for his Slam Dunk Contest heroics, but is also a nice scoring threat off of the bench.


Sound familiar?

I thought so.

Is there room for Iverson on a team that already has two guys with similar skill sets?

Now, don't get me wrong here: Iverson is a proven NBA scorer and future Hall-of-Famer.

Douglas has played in 10 NBA games, and Robinson appears to be nothing more than an above-average role player.

However, signing Iverson could hurt the confidence of these young guys.

Iverson's presence means the minutes for both Douglas and Robinson could take a hit.

Lots of this depends on how the Knicks see Douglas and Robinson.  Will they want to keep these guys around long-term?

Is Iverson worth the potential meltdown just to draw some interest?

Who knows.

What I do know, however, is that Allen Iverson is not going to help the New York Knicks win many basketball games this season.

There's an overall dearth of talent on that roster, and it's clear that Iverson isn't interested in winning, anyway.

Based on various reports, it seems as though Iverson-to-the-Knicks is imminent.

In terms of winning this year, the Knicks have nothing to lose.

In terms of helping their young players, the Knicks have plenty to lose.


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