Prodigal Iverson: The Answer To Philadelphia's Prayers?

Ronald MexicoCorrespondent IDecember 3, 2009

With Allen Iverson back in Philly, all the “experts” are wondering if this makes the Sixers a playoff team.

Forget the playoffs. Shoot for the moon, because even if you miss you’ll land with home-court advantage in the first round. That’s right, it looks like the Sixers might suddenly be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.

Iverson is as hungry as he’s ever been, and he fits this Sixers team like a glove.

Philadelphia has less chemistry than Tiger Woods’ marriage. They have fewer shooters than the French resistance. Until this morning, the city cared more about Penn basketball (0-4) than Sixers basketball.

Iverson is the perfect guy to step in and take this team to heights it hasn’t seen since 2001. He can lead, he’s healthy, and he’s the volume shooter that Philly desperately needs.

If that isn’t enough, take a look at the rest of the East. This might be the weakest Eastern Conference in the last 10 years.

You can summarize the conference with four very vulnerable teams: the Celtics, Cavs, Magic, and Hawks.

Nobody in Boston wants to admit it, but they rolled the dice one too many times when they signed Rashweed. These days, all Sheed can really do is jack threes and get technicals.

The Celtics have Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Eddie House, heck even Brian Scalabrine. All of them more than competent outside shooters. The last thing Boston needed was a hot-headed big man who never met a 3 he didn’t like.

This team is downright elderly, and the chemistry went from adequate to abominable when they added Wallace. Expect these old dogs to flame out when spring rolls around, they’ll be lucky to get out of the first round.

The 2009-2010 Cavs are no better than the 2008-2009 Cavs, and that’s not a compliment. The Shaq experiment, promising though it was, is not panning out by any stretch of his imagination. Delonte West, a key cog from last season, just hasn’t been himself since shotgun in guitar case-gate.

Something tells me that the season will end once again with LeBron heading to the locker room early. Don’t worry Cleveland, at least you will always be remembered as the one city where King James didn’t get a ring.

Is there a team in any of the four major sports with less heart than the Magic? This team blows leads like Dick Cheney blows covers. Their cornerstone big man, Dwight Howard, practices farting when he should be practicing low post moves. Last year, the hook shot was George Mikan rolling-over-in-his-grave bad. This year, it’s merely gawd-awful.

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If Superman works hard, he might upgrade the hook to cover-your-eyes ugly by the spring of 2013. As a side note, this gutless team needed to bring in leadership over the summer if it wanted any chance of getting to the next level. When you think leadership, apparently Orlando thinks Vince Carter.

The Hawks are a pretty simple team to figure out. They are young, relatively experienced, and generally have nowhere to go but up. They’re good enough to be a team the Sixers should be concerned about, but bad enough to be a team that the Sixers shouldn’t be worried about. Also, Joe Johnson says they’re soft. Ummm, this is awkward.

And there you have it, a conference clearly ripe for the picking. Most of the teams don’t matter, and the ones who do matter have fatal flaws. The Sixers’ work is cut out for them.

Here’s a little secret. Philly didn’t bring Allen back to sell tickets. They didn’t bring him back out of good will. They brought him back for one last glorious title run, before The Answer retires for good.

Funny how things change. Last week the Sixers were thinking about the lottery, now fans can ponder a best-of-seven with the Lakers.

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