The Boston Celtics are headed back to the NBA Finals and will probably meet the Lakers for one of the best series in NBA history. The Celtics have dominated everyone in their path with their amazing defense and they just stole the hearts out of all the teams they played.
Fans were predicting a Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers Eastern Conference Finals, but the Celtics dominated both teams and took the heart right out of them. All players on the teams gave up including the stars Dwight Howard, LeBron James and Vince Carter. The Celtics took advantage of that and punished both teams, now LeBron James is going to leave Cleveland and the Magic maybe done with Vince Carter too.
These team's owners are now being blamed for not having players on the roster that cared and that brought it every night. It is not only the Magic and Cavaliers who just lost their drive there are other teams that could have done well but lost heart and stopped caring, teams like the Raptors, Heat and Spurs.
Now that the guys running these teams look back at the names on the 2009 free agency they should be ashamed of themselves for not signing Allen Iverson.
First of all, forget about the fact that he has more heart than any player in the league; I just want to say that other than Dwight Howard and LeBron James in this years Eastern Conference Finals, I did not see one player who is better than Allen Iverson. The Magic and Cavalier respective supporting casts managed no better than the Allen Iverson we saw in Philadelphia for 25 games, the one who put up 14 points per game and 29 minutes per game, and the one that was forced to run the most structured basketball offense in the league.
The Magic and Cavaliers blew it.
Both teams had the chance to sign a legend, a first ballot Hall Of Famer who is hands down one of the 25 greatest players to ever play the game; they had a chance to sign a guy who wouldn't give up like Mo Williams, Antwan Jamison, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis did when their teams needed them; they had a chance to sign a guy who could go off for 30 points any game and if given the minutes and touches could go for 25 a night.
These teams were delusional when Iverson was a free agent, treating him like he a criminal that would rob and kill when he was in the locker room, worried that he would destroy team chemistry. They forgot that he is one of the greatest of all-time and has never choked or broken down in pressure. Teams were paying attention to what Iverson was off the court—even though that part of him is blown out of proportion—and they weren't paying attention to what he could have done for their teams on the basketball court.
The Magic and Cavaliers could have called up Iverson before the series started and he would have laced up his shoes and brought more effort than any other player on the team. He could have even won them a game or two and maybe even the series.
But in the off-season these teams wanted Iverson to come off the bench for some reason. Well what did the Magic and Cavalier starting lineups do when they needed them? What did the Mario Chalmers do for the Heat? What about the Spurs starting SG?
How about the Raptors weren't they supposed to be a No. 4 seed this season? Were their guards better than Iverson? Reports say Hedo Turkoglu wants out now. How about the Clippers, who wanted Iverson to come off the bench? What about Mike Conley? The Grizzlies didn't want Iverson starting over him so they released him.
Were the 12-70 Nets too good for Allen Iverson? Weird how one of the worst teams in NBA history thought they didn't need one of the greatest players in NBA history.
The Knicks passed on Iverson after he was put on the waivers and that didn't turn out too well.
What did Detroit do without Allen Iverson? They used his contract to get Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva—and the team finished 27-55, much worse than last year.
But Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva didn't have cornrows and tattoos and weren't cultural icons, so their careers weren't destroyed by the media.
The championship contenders aren't the only ones that blew it by not signing Iverson. The list of teams goes on and on. Teams that didn't even look at Iverson in free agency blew it. They had a chance to get a guy who was hungry at proving the world wrong and if was given 36 minutes per game, the touches and shots, he could have been a top five scorer in the league.
Miami, Toronto, New Jersey, Memphis, San Antonio, Indiana, Charlotte, New York are teams that blew it by not picking up Iverson when the had the chance. The funniest part about all this is that Iverson was only asking for a one-year $5 million deal and teams still passed. That price is nothing in the NBA, especially if you have Iverson on the roster—he will sell $5 million worth of jerseys in just two months.
Iverson would never quit on his team like the starters on playoff teams like the Magic, Spurs, Cavaliers and Heat did this year.
I will do a breakdown of some starting guards in the league and compare them to what Iverson did this season. Again, I am comparing them to an Allen Iverson who didn't play basketball for six months after the Detroit fallout, went into Memphis training camp as rusty as can be, tore his hamstring, and came back to play three games for Memphis and then retired for a month.
In that month, God knows what Iverson may have done.
Then he came back to the Sixers even rustier than when he arrived in Memphis, had one workout and played 37 minutes against Denver. Later in the season he learned he had an arthritic knee.
By the way, he played in Eddie Jordan's Princeton Offense, which for those of you that don't know, tgoes something like this: pass the ball, wait for a screen, fill the spot and set a screen, wait for a screen and then maybe touch the ball.
Other than Detroit, all the offenses Iverson played in went like this: give the ball to Allen and get out of the way. He played just 29 minutes per game and took just 11 shots a night.
So here it is; Allen Iverson compared to other starting guards in the league.
Allen Iverson: 13.8 ppg, 4.0 apg, 2.8 rpg, in just 29 mpg
Anthony Parker, SG, Cavaliers: 8.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.3 apg, 30 mpg
Even an injured, rusty Allen Iverson could have helped the Cavaliers more than Anthony Parker.
Jason Terry, SG, Mavericks: 12.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.0 apg, 29 mpg
Oh, look: Allen also outplayed Jason Terry, who wasn't able to get the Mavericks as far as they were supposed to go in the playoffs.
Mario Chalmers, PG, Heat: 10.8 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.6 apg
This guy is the reason Iverson wasn't brought to Miami. Looks like Allen outplayed him, too. A back court of D-Wade and AI would be amazing, and would give teams fits. Too bad Pat Riley decided to pass.
Courtney Lee, G, Nets: 12.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.7 apg. 34 mpg
If Iverson was playing over this guy on the Nets, he would lead the league in scoring and he would probably win 25 games for this team himself. Instead the Nets finished 12-70.
Chris Duhon, G, Knicks: 7.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 5.6 apg, 31 mpg
Tracy McGrady, G, Knicks: 8.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.3 apg
Yes, T-Mac was injured but so was AI and he outplayed him. Chris Duhon is the guy they thought they should stick with when Allen was put on the waivers by Memphis—AI would get 25 in his sleep in coach D'Antoni's high-octane offense in New York, and would probably be able to lead the Knicks to the playoffs. Since he was going to "ruin team chemistry," the Knicks passed.
LeBron, Bosh and Wade all want to go to New York but the Knicks have no names on the roster that would help lure them in; if they had Allen Iverson on the roster it would be a guy who has had a better career than all three players and they would be Knicks on July 1.
Jameer Nelson, PG, Magic: 12.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 5.4 apg
If Iverson was on the Magic he would have done more than Jameer did this season and would be playing with heart every game and wouldn't give up when there was pressure. Just having him there would be an inspiration. In Orlando's system Iverson probably wouldn't have a problem getting 20 a night.
TJ Ford, PG, Pacers: 10.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.8 apg
Earl Watson, PG, Pacers: 7.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 5.1 apg
Iverson outplayed these guys, and the Pacers would have at least a 20-points-per-game scorer in Iverson. He and Danny Granger would probably be able to lead the Pacers to the playoffs. What was Indiana thinking when they chose these guys over Allen?
Beno Udrih, G, Pacers: 12.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.7 apg
Allen out played Udrih as well and a Tyreke and Iverson back court would be amazing to watch. Not to mention effective.
George Hill, G, Spurs: 12.4 ppg, 2.9 apg, 2.6 rpg
Iverson would have been a perfect fit for the Spurs and would have them in the Western Conference Finals neck and neck with the Lakers. But the Spurs passed on Iverson and chose this guy. Don't give me the "Hill is younger" excuse, because at the end of the day, it's about who gets it done—and AI outplayed him. Plus, the Spurs are already old... what is one young, inexperienced guard going to do for them?
Jose Calderon, G, Raptors: 10.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 5.9 apg
Jarret Jack, G, Raptors: 11.4 ppg, 5.0 apg, 2.7 rpg
DeMar DeRozan, G, Raptors: 8.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 0.7 apg
Iverson would have been the perfect fit for Toronto. A Bosh and AI combo would lock up a fourth seed by All-Star break, and Allen would probably be averaging at least 20 points a night.
AI, Turkoglu, and Bosh would be a deadly combo come playoff time. If fans hated Vince Carter because of his lack of heart they would have loved Allen because of his style, the kind locals love. He would bring the passion, excitement and heart every night to the ACC. Brian Colangelo should have thought about Allen very hard.
Mike Conley, G, Grizzlies: 12.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 5.3 apg
The Grizzlies chose this scrub over Iverson, which may have led to his decision to departfrom the team. The Grizzlies may have made the playoffs had they started AI and the city of Memphis would have loved Iverson. Too bad the Grizzlies let him go like that.
Raymond Felton, G, Bobcats: 11.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 5.0 apg
Allen Iverson was a Bobcat for about a day when he and Brown agreed to have the reunion all Iverson fans wanted. Iverson would give the Bobcats that scorer and he certainly outplayed Felton. It probably wouldn't be like 2001 but it would have been something good. But Michael Jordan said no to Iverson and the deal broke down.
So there it is; Allen outplayed so many starting guards this season, and again, this was an injured and rusty Iverson who was running the most structured offense in the league, taking 11 shots a night and playing just 29 mpg.
Iverson could have helped contenders get to the Finals and maybe even win it all, and he could have helped other teams (like the Raptors) become contenders.
A lot of teams must be regretting not taking Allen—and they even had two chances to sign him because he was a free agent once again when Memphis released him.
If an unhealthy, rusty Iverson in a situation as there was in Philadelphia can outplay these guys, then imagine what he can do in the right situation when healthy.
Iverson will be a free agent once again, and some are saying he will return and others are saying he won't. People have been all over Twitter saying that they saw Allen in clubs and he is telling people that he is working out everyday and wants to return.
These owners and GM's across the league must keep in mind that Allen could have helped them a lot, and they screwed up by not signing him once. And more offers will come this year because he proved he isn't a distraction and a chemistry-killer like some people make him out to be.
This is what Nets President and GM, Ed Stefanski, had to say recently when asked about the Iverson signing:
"The impact he had on the locker room, the spark he provided, playing good basketball and the way he blended in was good for the team.
"When he got here, he was terrific. People ask me all the time if I would do it again. I tell them I would in a second. He was good for our team, and no one's career got thrown down while he was here."
Teams need to compare their guards to Iverson and they will realize that even an unhealthy Iverson is better than a lot of starting guards in the league.
Iverson should stop acting stubborn, offer himself to teams, and ask coaches for workouts to prove he can still play. He should start working out everyday to get his explosiveness back and he will be fine.
This summer, when all the young superstars are signed and the second tier guys are signed, the guy with the best career in the 2010 free agency pool will be left—and he is the "Answer" Allen Iverson.
And he can be the answer to a lot of teams next season.