A.I In The Big Apple: 5 Reasons Why Knicks Should Sign Iverson
He's old. He's washed up. He's got a terrible attitude.
We're all well aware of the red flags, and NBA GM's are apparently listening. As training camp soon approaches, the former MVP and future Hall of Famer is currently without a home. After a fiasco in Memphis and a short, strange return trip to Philly—well, its been an interesting year for Iverson to say the least.
The rumors continue to swirl, as both the Magic and the Hornets seem to be in a permanent state of vacillation regarding the prospect of signing the former Hoya.
It has also been rumored that the Bermuda triangle of superstars, the Miami Heat, may be acquiring one more notch under their ruby-filled belt.
Amidst the nebulous haze that usually hangs over the NBA rumor mill, there exists one team who I believe would benefit considerably from the services of this quasi-embattled veteran.
Call me crazy, but I think that Iverson and New York would be a perfect marriage. His arrival in MSG may not earn him a nickname as cool as St. Shaqtrick, but here are five reasons why the addition of Iverson could help bolster the Knickerbockers in a huge way.
5. The T.O Syndrome
Maybe it's just me, but I am convinced that no matter where he ends up, A.I. will not cause any trouble.
Think about it. At this point, it seems Iverson has fully come to terms with coming off the bench. (The bench?) Be it his reported gambling debts, drinking problems, or simple love of basketball, Iverson appears to be ready and willing to contribute to his team in any way he physically can.
This outlook seems to be a far cry from even a year ago, when Iverson stated that he'd rather retire than come off the bench. Due to the simple fact that A.I has yet to retire, he clearly has had a change of heart.
His previous attitude problems are the stuff of legend, but it looks like the carbon dated version of Iverson has mollified his once highly radioactive ego.
This possible transformation may very well go the same route of NFL star Terrell Owens. After bringing his Barnum & Bailey-esque act from city to city, T.O really settled down in Buffalo last season. His mediocre numbers would have previously resulted in the sure decimation of the team, but Owens kept quiet and simply played the game.
Not as talented as he once was, Owens has happily settled in Cincinnati to play second fiddle to a character in his own right, Chad OchoCinco.
By keeping his head down recently, Owens has been showing a certain maturity unbeknownst to anyone a mere year ago. In my opinion, Iverson is well on his way to doing the same.
In Mike D'Antoni's offense, shooting encouraged more than a mom encourages her kid to eat his vegetables.
Iverson, who has a career average of 26.7 ppg, is no stranger to putting the ball in the basket.
He may not drop 30 a night--let alone 20 a night--but Iverson proved in Philadelphia last season that he still has an uncanny knack of getting to the hoop, as he average just under 14 ppg on the year.
With the addition of Amar'e Stoudemire, the frontcourt has suddenly become the focal point of the Knicks offense.With Gallinari ready to strike from the three point line and newly acquired Raymond Felton ready to penetrate and dish, the Knicks offense could use a slashing guard to provide an extra threat.
Wilson Chandler would likely start over Iverson, but the answer could certainly provide an able solution off the bench, which is currently inhabited by a number of rookies and several young, lesser experienced players.
I don't know about you, but I'd love to have a three time scoring champion on my bench.
3. Veteran Leadership
Forced to recover from the Isaiah Thomas fiasco, the Knicks do not really have a solid veteran leader. Other than Eddy Curry (aka the invisible man), the longest tenured Knick is now Wilson Chandler, who has only been in the league for three years.
With his fourteen years of NBA experience, Iverson would bring an intangible to New York that the team is currently lacking. His presence could be a huge boon to young, developing guards such as Toney Douglas, Landry Fields, and even Wilson Chandler.
Plus, Iverson's presence on the court is virtually impossible to replicate. Drastically undersized, the 6'0" A.I has gained a reputation for being one of the toughest players in the game, as he has played entire seasons with injuries that could hardly be classified as minor.
When injury prone players like Curry and Stoudemire are on your roster, it could only help to have this type of poised, unbending player to motivate the rest of the bunch.
2. He's Still A Star...Kinda
Despite landing Stoudemire, we all know that the Knicks struck out in this summer's massive free agent market. Stoudemire has superstar appeal, but he's nowhere near that of LeBron or Dwanye Wade.
Allen Iverson? I think I've heard of that guy.
Signing Iverson could be a huge positive investment for the Knicks. Even if he only generates a fraction of the buzz that LeBron or Wade would have, its still something.
For a team steadily rebuilding in the aftermath of a devastating a category 5 hurricane (the Isaiah era), some added appeal could do wonders for this franchise.
I know—it sounds kind of desperate. In fact, its not all too similar to settling for the less attractive girl because the one you really wanted (LeBron) flirted heavily with you, only to break your heart.
All in all, this less appealing suitor will ultimately be unable to provide the returns that your desired companion would have given you, no matter how hard she may try.
But look at it this way. At least you're still getting some. What's so wrong with that? And it's not like you are in it for the long haul. Have a little fun, and move on.
Signing Iverson for more than one year would be a dumber decision than choosing to kick the ball in NFL overtime, and Donnie Walsh is no Marty Mortingwheg.
For a relatively low price (I'd expect him to be signed to something around the veterans minimum), the Answer could provide some tremendous revenue. He may not be his old self, but I'm pretty sure his name is still Allen Iverson. And that fact alone should get some extra people in the seats.
Plus, an Allen Iverson New York Knicks Jersey? I'd buy that in a second.
1. What's There To Lose?
Signing a future Hall of Famer for about a million dollars is a better deal than anything advertised in a Peyton Manning commercial.
This signing would be an extremely low risk, high reward move for the Knicks. As fellow B/R writer Bryan Toporek stated in an article advocating for the Bobcats to sign Iverson, nobody is going to expect A.I to score 20 points a contest if signed to the veterans minimum, but nobody is going to complain if he does.
If he could even manage to put up 15 a contest, he'll add tremendous firepower to an already able backcourt. Combining a competent A.I with Felton, Gallinari, Chandler, and even Douglas could create one of the most versatile and exciting backcourts in all of basketball.
A productive Iverson could easily catapult this steadily improving team back into the playoffs, which would effectively awake a fan base currently playing the role of sleeping giant.
Restoring this franchise could change the entire landscape of the NBA, as the lucrative New York market would attract some of the league's finest stars, creating a championship contender for years to come.
Realistically, nobody would be too surprised if he were waived. Quite honestly, Iverson's seemingly everlasting engine may have finally worn out.
If it hasn't, however, watch out. This guy's a Hemi.