The Philadelphia 76ers and Allen Iverson are close to agreeing on a one-year deal. If I were Louis Williams, Jrue Holiday, Marreese Speights and Thaddeus Young I would be very pissed. The odds of Iverson passing the ball their way at any point this season seems remote.
The 76ers motivation in making this move cannot be motivated by anything else but putting butts in the stands, because in terms of basketball it makes no sense. This is a guy that refuses to come off the bench even though his skills are clearly in decline.
His teammates in Memphis don't seem to be missing him much, playing surprisingly well out in the West so far this year and the Nuggets flourished when they swapped him for Chauncey Billups last year.
When A.I. was in his prime he was simply a great scorer that on any given night could win you a game and on the nights he was off was a disaster. The Sixers tried to put him next to Jerry Stackhouse, Larry Hugher and Andre Iguodala, who all certainly had their limitations, but found it impossible to co-exist next to a player like Iverson who needed the ball at all times to be effective. It's no surprise all three played better without A.I.
Iverson always lacked the ability that Jordan, Bird, Magic, Kobe, Lebron, Duncan etc. have in elevating the level of play of his supporting cast. Iverson maximized his abilities in becoming a great scorer, but creating for others always seemed distasteful to him and frankly may always have been beyond his capabilities.
Now with Iverson dominating the ball, Philadelphia's promising youth will be the ones to suffer. Players like Speights and Young will see less touches in the post and will be resigned to setting picks and rolling to the hoop for passes that will rarely come their way. Williams will struggle playing alongside Iverson and Holiday will see reduced minutes stunting his development as a rookie.
Defensively, Iverson has become non-existant. Before he used to play the passing lanes extremely well and was among the league leaders in steals every year. Now his loss in speed and explosion have taken that away from him too.
There certainly is some kind of justice in A.I. coming back to the team where he made his name and which led to an NBA Finals berth, but at what cost? Bringing back Iverson is simply a desperate gambit to make this team competitive now. I'm not sure if he's even capable of that anymore. I know that I wouldn't take a guy past his prime and incapable of playing any way but his own on my team.