The Detroit Pistons acquisition of Allen Iverson for Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess, and Cheikh Samb, has solidified them as the second best team in the eastern conference behind the defending champion Boston Celtics. Iverson's 27.7 career scoring average (good for third in NBA history), will compliment Detroit's impressive defense (NBA best 90.1 points allowed last season), like peanut butter does jelly.
Iverson was clearly not fitting in with Denver this season as he learned that he was not welcomed back as team captain. In addition, he averaged a little over 13 shots per game, far below the 22 shot attempts that he has averaged for his career. His lackluster play and stripped captaincy, deteriorated the relationship between him and head coach George Karl.
Iverson will get a fresh start in Detroit where he will get another shot at his first championship. The move brings him back to the comfortable surroundings of the Eastern Conference where he spent 10 seasons as the star of the Philadelphia 76ers. In 2001, Iverson lead Philadelphia to the NBA Finals where they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Iverson's new role as a member of the Pistons figures to be similar to the role that he had on the 76ers. He will no longer have Carmelo Anthony to shoulder the offensive load like he did in Denver. He will be relied on to carry the offense and make the clutch shots in close games. On defense, he will create turnovers for the opposing team.
At 33, the time is now for him to win a championship. Generally known throughout his career as a shoot first guard, A.I. will need to learn to sacrifice his shot attempts in order to give forwards Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace the rock. The Pistons will loose Billups' tough nosed defense but Iverson's quickness and ability to steal the ball will makeup for the loss of Billups.
With a star firepower that the team has been missing for all of these years, the only thing that will stand in Detroit's way of their second championship in four years will be the defending champion Celtics. The Celtics' three headed monster of Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett handed the Pistons their third straight conference finals exit last season. The big three don't figure to disappear anytime soon which leaves Detroit in an unfavorable position. However, if Iverson can prove his worth as a superstar that plays every game as if it's his last, dishes the ball, and plays solid defense, the Celtics may be in trouble.
We will see how well A.I. and the Pistons get along together when Iverson suits up in a Detroit uniform for the first time tonight, Friday, Nov. 7 against the New Jersey Nets.