And The Better Deal Goes To...
Overall, Joe Dumars should be happy with the deal he made for AI this past Monday.
He wanted a change, and he got one. The fans (from what I’ve heard) are ecstatic about the completion of this deal, so that in itself should put a smile on Joe’s face.
If it makes the team better, the fans happier, and the money more plentiful, I’d consider it a great deal. But I’m just not sure you could put a check next to all three of those categories.
The Pistons, with Chauncey, haven’t made the Finals since 2005, where they were taken down by the almighty San Antonio Spurs. In '06, they were knocked out in the Conference Finals by D-Wade’s Heat. In '07, my Cleveland Cavaliers sent them packing in the Conference Finals yet again.
And last year, we all know what happened with the Big Three.
If you're a Pistons fan, I imagine that you’re sick of constantly coming up short. A change was needed. Whether it was smart to give up Chauncey Billups and possibly Antonio McDyess, only time will tell.
Impact on the Pistons
Like I mentioned in my opening paragraph, the Pistons haven’t been to the Finals since 2005. And for sports fans, three years could feel like an eternity. I would know—I’m a Yankee fan.
So Joe Dumars and the Pistons front office did the only logical thing they could do—make a trade sending away the face of their franchise.
AI has only played one game as a Piston, but he did look pretty comfortable, tallying up 24 points and six assists. Chauncey, in his debut in Denver, put up 15 points and three assists.
If you look at these stats, you’d immediately think that AI had the better night. But the stat that I didn’t show you is the one that matters most—the win. The Pistons came up short in New Jersey, while the Nuggets took down the Dallas Mavericks.
Team chemistry could be a factor for Detroit, but when AI gets to know his teammates better, I’m sure his stats will exceed expectations.
If the Pistons are looking for AI to be their number-one scoring option, then they’re in luck. In his 12-year career, he has never averaged less than 24 points per game, and has a career shooting percentage of 42.6.
The productivity of Allen Iverson is undeniable, and any guard who shoots over 40 percent in their career from the field would be a main asset on any NBA team.
And although you wouldn’t consider AI the typical “rebounding guard”, he did out-rebound Chauncey Billups last year by 31 boards. All in all, AI is looking more and more valuable (statistically).
Impact on the Nuggets
The one-two punch of Carmelo and AI wasn’t gelling as smoothly as planned, and the Nuggets couldn’t make it out of the first round. Maybe putting two brand-name scorers on the floor together wasn’t working out like George Karl had imagined. But in any case, AI had to go.
Chauncey Billups, a Denver native, could be the perfect fit for the Nuggets organization. Chauncey has shown veteran leadership throughout the last few years, and could be an excellent mentor to the younger players on the team.
But besides his veteran presence, he also knows how to play basketball, which is a good thing in the NBA.
Chauncey’s experience as a team leader will help the Nuggets to an extent, but he’ll need to perform at a high level for the Nuggets to even contend for a playoff spot. His points-per-game average has been decreasing every year since '05-06, but his field-goal percentage has gone up since the same year. Put these two facts together, and you can conclude that he hasn’t been shooting as much as he did while in his prime.
With Denver, he’ll probably be their second option and have to put up an abundant amount of shots. In Denver, expect to see the Billups who takes over 900 shots every year.
Billups isn’t just known for his clutch shots and hardware—he also does the so-called “little things”. He’s nearly perfect from the charity stripe (86 percent in his career), has only missed 15 games in the past three years (compared to Iverson’s 30-plus), and has made more than one-third of his career three-point shots (38.5 percent, to be exact).
Though he’s not the flashy-type of player Allen Iverson is, his team-first attitude and experience could be just as beneficial to 'Melo and his squad.
Who Won the Deal?
Currently, the Antonio McDyess situation is up in the air, and we still don’t know which team he’ll be suiting up for the rest of the season. Because of this, the trade basically ends up being a straight AI for Chauncey deal.
As of right now, I’d have to give the edge to the Pistons. AI, in my opinion, will give the Pistons a better chance at winning an NBA title than Chauncey will give Denver. Overall, Iverson is the better scorer, much more versatile, and seems a bit hungrier for a championship ring.
But, like I stated earlier in the article, only time will tell.
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