There is a great commentary on ESPN.com about undervaluation of Allen Iverson entitled “Don’t Question the Answer.”
Yup, even after 10 punishing seasons, even on an off-night slumming for a crappy team, Allen Iverson is still worth seeing. And now that he’s about to be traded — about six months too late, by the way — I’ve been astonished by the lack of respect for his abilities in so many written and spoken reports. Writers and talking heads keep painting Iverson as a past-his-prime, banged-up head case who can’t guard anyone, a significant risk with sizable baggage, someone who’s too selfish to coexist with quality players. There’s a generational twinge to the anti-Iverson coverage, pushed by media folks in their 40s, 50s and 60s who can’t understand his generation and don’t seem interested in trying. Most media members would rather mention his infamous aversion to practice (overrated over the years) above describing the incredible thrill of seeing him in person.
Fact: He played with only one All-Star in Philly (the soon-to-be-decrepit Dikembe Mutombo in 2001), as well as a host of overpaid role players (Eric Snow, Aaron McKie, Kyle Korver, Kenny Thomas, Marc Jackson, Brian Skinner, Greg Buckner, Tyrone Hill, George Lynch, Corliss Williamson, Theo Ratliff), overpaid underachievers (Derrick Coleman, Keith Van Horn, Sam Dalembert, Joe Smith), overpaid and washed-up veterans (Todd MacCulloch, Toni Kukoc, Chris Webber, Glenn Robinson, Matt Geiger, Billy Owens), and underachieving lottery picks (Jerry Stackhouse, Tim Thomas, Larry Hughes).
Fact: Other than Mutombo, Iverson’s four best teammates were Coleman (the signature head case of the 1990s), Stackhouse (a selfish scorer who’s been traded three times), Ratliff (a shotblocker with no offensive skills) and Andre Igoudala (a talented athlete who hasn’t improved in two years).
Fact: Since Larry Brown left in 2003, he’s played for four coaches in four years (Randy Ayers, Chris Ford, Jim O’Brien and Mo Cheeks)
Fact: Thanks to the C-Webb trade and their botched salary cap, the Sixers can’t trade for an impact guy unless they keep rolling the dice with somebody else’s problem … a strategy that hasn’t worked for them in five years.