When my home team the Detroit Pistons, traded Chauncey Billups, I understood. As good as Billups is, he needs some younger talent around him to be playing at his peak at this stage of his career. Obviously the aging Pistons didn’t fit the criteria and we traded for Allen Iverson on that fateful day back on November 3rd, 2008.
At first I was like it might be good….maybe? And then the nightmare became a reality and Iverson single handily imploded one of the longest most consistent franchises into the ground. They are in danger of falling out of the playoffs, and off anyones list of being a potential champion contender in the playoffs.
I tried to watch Iverson fit in, rooted for him and hoped he look at it like playing for an Olympic team, meaning it’s about team more than individuals when you play for the Pistons. Which is good and bad, but it is what it is, and Iverson does not fit in or doesn’t get “it”.
Now that his “back spasms” have given Richard Hamilton his job back, what do you know, we look great again, just beat the Celtics on ABC in front of the world – of course without Kevin Garnett which is a big part of the Celtics, but they still looked good, and we just rattled off 3 in a row.
I can only imagine what would have happened if Iverson was still there, perhaps he and Stephon Marbury would compare notes on “Team Implosion”. Or perhaps Rasheed Wallace after right-fully calling out a phantom call by the referee, and frustrated by the lack of cohesion on the court lead by Iverson, would have most likely went off after the first technical and got another double technical and a game suspension. I saw the same thing happen two nights before in the game Iverson eventually left due to an injured back.
For a general manager as smart as Joe Dumars, I expected a bit more – but watching these Pistons without Iverson, I can see the work he is currently sculpting. Then the light bulb clicked when I heard a report about Iverson coming off the bench instead of starting, which would make sense and probably breathe new life into Iverson. If Allen can get over the ego, I think Dumars after all will get the best out of someone who still after all the years of play and wear and tear has tremendous potential to develop his team game; and if he can modify his individual game around that team philosophy, the sky is the limit. If this all happens I think it could make the Pistons a surprise team in the playoffs, but that’s a lot of chemistry, like an Albert Hofmann amount of chemistry to balance. Hopefully rookie coach Michael Curry along with Dumars can figure it out before the Pistons fall off the face of the earth.