Sunday, April 12, 2009
This edition of Fastbreak Buckets is all about Allen Iverson's separation from the Pistons.
I’ve had mixed feelings about posting much more than I already have about Allen Iverson, mainly because most everything that can be said, has been said. Nevertheless, one week after Iverson was sent home, I’m going to highlight some of the opinions from around the internet, and offer up a few points of my own.
- The piece on Iverson that has garnered the most attention has been Jason Whitlock’s brutal attack on Iverson’s career.
Winning has never really mattered to Allen Iverson.I have been as harsh on Iverson as anyone (Wages of Wins has given me a run for my money), but I take exception with a few of Whitlock’s suggestions, namely that Iverson never cared about winning. Iverson doesn't play selfishly (dribble and shoot too much) because of his upbringing or his race, as Whitlock suggests. Iverson plays that way because he believes it is the best way to help a team win. He is wrong.
Iverson is a one-man, no-country Army, more than likely the victim of a dysfunctional upbringing that left him incapable of embracing the concepts essential to teamwork, winning and sacrifice for the benefit of others.
The same unbridled confidence that allowed a 5’11 man to succeed in a league that employs more people above seven-feet than below six-feet is also Iverson’s biggest fault. Iverson believes that the best way to lead a team to victory is for him to dominate the offense and fill up the score sheet. At one point, his one-man offense was able to match that of most NBA teams. At age 33, he has reached the point where any offense he leads will be a terrible one. The gap between his skills and his perception of his skills has only become more pronounced as his game has deteriorated, but his confidence has not.
- Over at Piston Powered, Dan Feldman explains that Iverson’s back injury had little to do with the early ending to his season.
Iverson isn’t playing again for the Pistons because he doesn’t want to play again for the Pistons. Sure, his back may be hurting. But he just complained about not getting enough minutes. If he wanted to fight through it, he could.While it is hard to imagine the back injury was a deciding factor, I think Iverson’s desire to leave the team was matched only by Joe Dumars’ desire to get rid of him after it became clear he was not capable of helping the team in a bench role.
- For those who wonder why a former MVP was incapable of serving as a useful role player, Fanhouse’s Matt Steinmetz breaks it down.
Even if Iverson is ready, willing and able to lower himself a rung on a team's scoring ladder, that doesn't mean he'll do it well or that he's best suited to do it.As a general rule, role players are better at being role players than stars are at being role players.While that does not apply to all players – David Robinson, Grant Hill, Reggie Miller, and Ray Allen, among others, have been effective as complimentary players after being go-to guys earlier in their careers – Iverson is clearly not suited to be anything other than a team’s primary scoring option. When Iverson was effective earlier in his career, his remarkable scoring ability overcame his several weaknesses, notably poor defense, poor decision-making, and a ball-hogging style of play that takes a team out of its offense. As he has aged, that scoring ability has deteriorated, but the weaknesses remain. What’s left is a player whose cannot help an NBA team unless he drastically changes his style of play. Iverson's only skill is his ability to score. The problem is that he scores in such a horribly inefficient manner that he is a hindrance to team success on both ends of the floor.
- The mainstream media has plenty of coverage of Iverson’s final days with the Pistons. Larry Brown says that plenty of teams will want Iverson. Either several teams have misguided GMs, Brown is wrong, or Brown is telling a white lie as not to offend “The Answer.” “He's still a starter in this league; he's going to have a lot of success," Michael Curry told The Detroit News. Again, I cannot imagine that Curry truly believes what he is saying. Marc Stein says he has talked to several league executives who do not believe there will be much of a market for Iverson. The market for Iverson will be limited, but it only takes one bad GM for a player to a contract disproportionate to his ability to contribute. Chris McCosky rails against the way Iverson handled the move to the bench. In light of what has transpired, it is hard to disagree.
- Lastly, for comedy’s sake, here is Rick Kamla (via Pistons Nation) making us question whether paying attention to the NBA is part of the job description for hosting a show that analyzes the NBA. “He’s a Hall of Fame player who’s still in the prime of his career,” Kamla said. If Iverson’s play this year is indicative of the prime of a Hall of Fame career, I can think of a few hundred players who deserve a plaque in Springfield. In 2009, Will Bynum is a better basketball player than Allen Iverson. The fact that Kamla has not watched enough Piston basketball to know this led him to go on national television and reveal his ignorance while shouting.
One last thing I'd like to mention. Brian Packey has launched Motown String Music as the Piston blogosphere's representative on SB Nation. MSM is off to a great start and has some exciting ideas that should strengthen the Piston blogging community. Be sure to check the site out.