This week we saw the mega-deal of Denver and Philadelphia, with the Nuggets having to part with Andre Miller, Joe Smith and 2 1st round draft picks in exchange for Allen Iverson. For Philadelphia, they are already in rebuilding mode and got rid of one of the most expensive contracts in the league, $40m over the next two years not including the rest of Iverson’s $18m salary this year. It’s a different story for Denver as they are hoping to build a championship team. With Iverson, they already have a loaded roster that includes the NBA’s leading scorer, Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith and Marcus Camby. But the main question is, will it work out?
Let’s take a look at Iverson’s statistical history. In the last 10 seasons, only Webber (1 season), Glenn Robinson (1 season), Derrick Coleman (2 seasons) and Jerry Stackhouse (2 seasons) have been able to score more than 16ppg when they had AI with them on the team, with Coleman/Stackhouse doing it during Iverson’s 1st 2 seasons in the league. What happens now in Denver, wherein they currently have the 2 top scorers in the league, averaging more than 30ppg?
Iverson had four (4) seasons wherein he had a teammate with enough talent to score more than 16 ppg alongside him. But quite amazingly, these are the seasons wherein Philadelphia completely missed the playoffs! The 76ers of the Iverson era has made the playoffs in the 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005 seasons, completely missing all seasons in bold in the table above. When Philadelphia made the finals back in 2001, AI’s scoring teammates with 10+ppg were Theo Ratliff (12.4ppg), Dikembe Mutombo (11.7) and Aaron McKie (11.6).
With Anthony and JR Smith out the next 14 games, Iverson would have to carry much of the Nuggets’ scoring load. Others to support him in the offense would be Marcus Camby and Earl Boykins. We’ll have to wait and see what happens when the Nuggets are at full strength, as Anthony and Smith are still serving their suspensions. But with Denver currently sitting at the 7th spot, the suspensions, and the adjustments they have to make (before and after Melo returns), it seems like Sixers President Billy King is a genius if the equation “Iverson + Scorers = Lottery!” would continue as Philadelphia will end up with a lottery pick.