Allen Iverson Is One of the Most Overrated Players of All Time

Ari HoringSenior Analyst IDecember 7, 2008

After hearing that Iverson and the Pistons lost to the Knicks 104-92 on Sunday dropping the team's record with Iverson to 7-8, I started thinking about how overrated Iverson really is.

There is no doubt that Allen Iverson is a great basketball player. However, I believe he is an overrated player due to the fact that he is considered a hands-down first ballot Hall of Famer and considered one the best guards to play the game, when I’m not sure he really is.

Iverson might be the quickest player to ever play the game and might have the best crossover of all time. He is just a pure scorer, who sacrifices his undersized body to help his team win.

He plays his heart out every game and wants nothing more than to finish his career with an NBA title. However, he has only made it past the second round of the playoffs one time and won his division once in his career (the year he went to the NBA finals).

Considering he is supposedly an all-time great, why is it that he hasn’t made the two teams he was traded to in his career any better?

The Nuggets, who were knocked of the first round the three previous years before they had Iverson, were knocked out in the first round the last two years they had Iverson as well.

The Pistons, who traded for Iverson this season, had a 59-23 record last year and a 3-0 record before the Iverson trade. Now with Iverson, the Pistons look worse and currently have a 7-8 record with Iverson.

Imagine if a player like Dwayne Wade was traded to the Nuggets three years ago or the Pistons now. They would have immediately become a much better team. What supposed all-time great player, wouldn’t make another team better if traded to them?

But why is Iverson just not as good as advertised?

 

Iverson is strictly an offensive player.

Although he does get a lot of steals, Iverson is a poor individual defender who gets beat way too much. One reason is due to the fact that he is undersized and often guards players that are bigger than him.

But the other reasons are because he goes for the steal way too often leaving his teamates behind him in vulnerable positions and he just doesn’t play with the same effort and intensity he does at the other end.

He shoots a poor Field Goal Percentage

He has a dreadful career FGP of .425 and a career playoff FGP of .401. For all of the incredible shots he does make, how many more difficult shots does he miss? For how many great shooting nights Iverson does has, how many bad ones does he have as well?

The main reason for his poor shooting percentage directly relates to his poor shot selection and the fact that he is a streaky shooter. Many of Iverson’s shots aren’t typical shots that most players normally take.

Whether he is driving into the lane for a difficult lay up or is taking a step back three pointer with someone right up in his face, there is no doubt that his shot selection is poor sometimes.

Iverson especially takes too many three-pointers. He has a career average of 3.9 three pointer attempts per game with a career 31.4 three point percentage, while a great three-point shooter like Reggie Miller, averages slightly more attempts with 4.7 per game.

Although most superstars have an occasional off day, Iverson more consistently can be off on any given day. When Iverson is having an off day, he will continue taking difficult shots no matter what and will just make his FGP worse.

On the other hand, when most other superstars are having bad shooting nights, they usually stop attempting as many difficult shots and do other things to help their team win.

For how many games Iverson has won from shooting, how many has he also lost from shooting?

 

He is a very unorthodox player

Iverson can be hard to fit into a system. Is he shooting guard or is he a point guard? He is an undersized shooting guard, but too much of a shoot first player to be a point guard. I’m not really sure what he is half the time.

As I mentioned earlier, Iverson throughout his career has constantly taken shots that are ill advised. This can hurts the flow of his team’s offense and make it difficult for his teammates to get in rhythm with him doing his own thing.

Not only is it it difficult for Iverson's teammates to know what he is going to do, watching him take four guys on all time can’t be fun for them either. I could see how being his teammate could be frustrating sometimes.

Frankly, Iverson just doesn't really make his teammates better. Even at this stage in Iverson career, where he is more of a team player, he still doesn't make his teammates better.

There is no doubt that there were certain years when he was playing for the 'Sixers, that his team’s best offensive scheme was probably to let him do almost everything offensively because of the lack of talent on his teams.

He was single handily responsibly for taking the Sixers to the playoffs multiple times and the NBA finals in 2001 and not many players in NBA history could have taken those teams to the playoffs or taken his team to the NBA Finals.

The problem is that Iverson is a catch 22 type of player. Iverson is at his best when his team revolves around him. However, a team revolving around Iverson isn't going to win a championship.

Even the year he went to the NBA finals, he had virtually no chance of beating the Lakers. When Iverson is actually playing for a team that has a lot of talent like the Nuggets or Positions and the team doesn’t just revolve around him, he isn’t as effective of a player.

Iverson is a unique talent and is one of the most fun players to watch. However, because of how exciting and unique he is, he draws a lot of attention and has thus has become an overrated player.

Many of Iverson’s fans said that if he was put on a team with a lot of talent, he could win a title. Well what are his fans going to say now?

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