Allen Iverson arguably is one of the best guards in NBA history. You may have notice I say that statement in present sense because I believe if given the chance he could still produce at an all-star level. It’s mid-way through the NBA shortened season and going on a year and a half that Allen Iverson hasn’t played in a NBA game, so I’m sure many GM question that statement. I had to be the biggest Allen Iverson fan so I may not be the best to make these arguments but I will try.
The fall of Allen Iverson if you ask me comes after he was traded from the Denver Nuggets to the Detroit Pistons for Chauncey Billups at the start of the 2009 season. Allen Iverson last season in Denver he averaged 26ppg and was playing alongside a bona fide superstar in Carmelo Anthony, a type of player he never had in Philadelphia. Carmelo and Iverson were never given a chance to succeed in Denver, when Iverson came over via trade; Carmelo was in the midst of a 15 game suspension for an altercation with the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. By the time the 2 were on the court together the playoffs were right around the corner, were they were faced against the Spurs, with no real chance to gel. The duo was later eliminated by the Spurs in 5 games after a game 1 victory where Iverson scored 30 points. The following season the Nuggets played the Lakers and were also eliminated in 5 games that also marked the end of the Iverson and Anthony era.
Iverson was traded to Detroit only 3 games into the season who were still viewed as a main contender in the eastern conference. The majority of the team core excluding Ben Wallace was still intact from their championship runs from the late 2000’s. The way Iverson played after coming over from Nuggets seemed as if he was being more passive giving way to the veteran players that were already on the team. If your Allen Iverson you had to realize that you were the only league MVP on the roster and only multiple all-star starter. Iverson less attempted to turn into Chauncey Billups and be more of a facilitator than a scorer like he was for his entire career. Allen Iverson is in the top 10 in scoring in NBA history, he was still able to dominate games. In the long run this is the play style that hindered Iverson for his stint in Detroit.
After his stint in Detroit Iverson did have his chance for redemption. That summer he signed with the Memphis Grizzles in a significantly reduced role which required him to come off the bench backing up point guard Mike Conley. Iverson obviously wasn’t comfortable in that role voicing his concern after the 1st game that he was unhappy. Allen Iverson only lasted 2 more games before abruptly retiring from the NBA. After his brief retirement Allen Iverson returned to the NBA within months to the team that drafted him 1st overall in 1996 the Philadelphia 76ers after an injury to guard Lou Williams. After his return Iverson still seemed to be in the facilitator mode, could it have been that maybe he didn’t possess the skills that made him one of the most exciting players in the NBA? Iverson didn’t finish out the season with the 76ers citing personal reasons.
That following off season Allen Iverson was not offered a roster spot on any NBA team and therefore took a offer to play in Turkey. When you think of players playing overseas normally its former college players who weren’t quite good enough for the pros or NBA journeymen. Never have you seen a former league MVP, multiple time all-star, or a player who put on one of the best showings in a NBA finals game belittle themselves to such a brand of basketball. I find it hard to believe that Allen Iverson couldn’t score 20ppg in a NBA game today. To score 20 it would require 5-7 made shot attempts and opportunities at the free throw line. Are GMs saying Allen Iverson can’t make 5 jump shots or layups? Whatever that reason might be I just would like him to get 1 final shot, no pun intended!