Allen Iverson To Philly: Happy Homecoming or Epic Mistake?
So, Allen Iverson is headed back to Philadelphia.
I've written in the past about how he needs to accept the fact that he's in decline and nobody cares to have a whining, selfish, aging player as a franchise centerpiece.
However, I feel as though Iverson's move back to the 76ers is a perfect match for both sides.
Lou Williams, Philly's second-leading scorer, just went down for eight weeks with a broken jaw. Before the injury, Williams was enjoying a breakout season, averaging 17 points and five assists per game while assuming point guard duties for the Sixers.
Williams is a lightning-quick 6'1" guard with a knack for finding the rim and scoring.
What better replacement than a 34-year-old carbon copy of him?
The Sixers are 21st in the league in scoring average per game, and Iverson was born to put the ball in the basket.
Iverson, who has averaged 27 points per game for his career, will come in and start right away for Philly at point guard ahead of rookie Jrue Holiday.
Is Iverson a point guard?
However, he's not coming in and playing off-guard ahead of Andre Iguodala, and we all know how he feels about coming off the bench.
What do the Sixers have to lose?
They're 5-13 and mired in a seven-game losing streak.
Their current starting point guard, the 19-year-old Holiday, has looked overwhelmed at times and doesn't look quite ready to be playing extensive minutes in the NBA.
They're already far outside the playoff picture, and have absolutely no spark right now.
Iverson is (or was) a one-man offensive wrecking machine, capable of scoring by himself whenever he wants to.
If Eddie Jordan lets him roll freely, Iverson could resurrect his career here and may be able to help jump-start the 76ers back into contention.
If AI is stuck in a system that doesn't complement his skills (like last season in Detroit), he'll struggle and eventually flounder.
There's no doubting the talent on Philadelphia's roster.
They've missed second-year forward Marreese Speights in a major way, as he's missed the last eight games with an MCL injury. Before going down, Speights averaged 13 points and six rebounds per game.
Thaddeus Young, still just 21 years old, averages 15 points per game and has tons of room still to grow as a player.
However, the biggest key of all is Elton Brand.
Brand still hasn't gotten going after signing with the Sixers last summer and has struggled to stay on the floor. In 15 games this year, he's averaging 12 points and seven rebounds per game.
Iverson, Iguodala, and Willie Green give the Sixers a nice little tandem of scoring guards.
So, were Ed Stefanski and Eddie Jordan motivated to bring Iverson in for basketball reasons and basketball reasons only?
Of course not.
"The Answer" is going to sell tickets.
Philadelphia may be the one place that Iverson could have gone and immediately fit right in and feel comfortable.
Based on years past, the fans still love him, and he will always be remembered as a Sixer.
Philadelphia sports fans are notorious for being tough and rough around the edges, and Iverson's style has matched that throughout his career.
Based on how they've been reeling, fan interest in the Sixers can't be too high.
The Phillies are coming off back-to-back World Series appearances, the Eagles are 7-4, and even the Flyers are better than the 76ers right now.
So why should they care about their 5-13 basketball team?
Bringing Iverson back immediately gets people in Philadelphia talking about the team again, and, if they're able to put something together with him, Iverson will own the town once again.
Does the addition of Iverson guarantee the Sixers will make a run?
Of course not.
It's completely possible that Allen Iverson as we've known him for years no longer exists as a basketball superstar.
These Sixers may just not have it and are bound for a top-five lottery choice next summer.
In any case, bringing Iverson back to Philadelphia will certainly generate interest.
Whether or not they end up making the playoffs, the Iverson signing is a smart move for the 76ers.
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