Early on from the trade if you asked who got the better deal, it was Denver. The Nuggets started 2-3, but since acquiring Billups they have gone 23-9. Iverson's first 19 games with Detroit were nothing more than a mere 10-9. Since then though, the Pistons have improved to 21-12, having won seven of their last eight.
The showdown between the revamped teams will take place tomorrow.
Unlike most Detroit fans, I feel this trade has been good. The Pistons got to unload an aging Chauncey Billups who had a large contract. Moving him and having Iverson's contract for a year opens up a lot of cap room for the free agent class of 2010.
The team we had was aging, and with Rodney Stuckey in the wings, we have a capable back-up. Even more so, Stuckey, during the seven game win streak, was putting up monster numbers offensively.
This trade also seems to make Detroit a more dangerous team in the playoffs. In years passed we have struggled to knock off teams like the Spurs, Heat, Cavaliers, and Celtics without a go-to guy in the crunch time. Billups did help us in our title run of '02, gaining the name 'Big Shot', but he still isn't the scorer that Iverson is.
On the other hand, Iverson is not a point guard. Billups was good at taking control of the game and slowing it down. Iverson is the opposite, he will push it more and go off the hole. Stuckey has emerged as the point guard, and he is young, while being a better scorer.
Iverson is also not as big as Billups; defensively, Billups is by far better. This is a downside when this season has been more of a throw back to Detroit's defensive past and a step away from Flip Saunder's offensive onslaught.
Someone else who is not benefiting is Rip Hamilton. Having been moved to a back-up role to Iverson, he is not putting up the same numbers. Prince is benefiting by his driving into the lane.
Having said all of this, if this trade had not occurred, the Pistons would have had a similar season to last year. We would be leading the division and would be trailing the Boston Celtics. The problem with this same team is that we would have been bounced from the playoffs again in the second round or in the Eastern conference finals again.
I believe as a die-hard fan, that getting back to the Eastern Conference finals again is not good enough. With the old team that is what we would have gotten, but having Iverson gives up a new wrinkle.
So I believe this trade cannot be fully judged as being good until playoff time comes around, but even then I do not think it will be bad unless we do not get out of the first round. If we do, the trade put us into the same place as we were before.