AI’s Return Proves to be the Perfect Ending for the 76ers

Allen Iverson's Return to Philly

The game Sixers fans have been waiting for has finally come and gone.  I had the pleasure of sitting in the lower level at the Wachovia Center directly across from the Denver bench for Allen Iverson’s return to Philly, as evidenced by the photograph above.  And the game was everything a fan could have hoped for.

This makes two perfect 76ers’ games in a row that I have attended.  We got a great high-scoring affair, some fantastic plays on both ends, a very good game from AI and most importantly the Sixers got another win.

Observations from the game

  • Sellout crowd (as if we expected anything less)20,674.  All the speculation leading up to tonight was whether or not Iverson would be well-received and be welcomed with a standing ovation during pre-game.  Come on, did anyone really think that wouldn’t happen?  We are talking about the most beloved 76er since Julius Erving.  Iverson said after the game “I dreamed it up a certain way, and it was better than that.”  And I concur, much respect given to the little man.
  • Andre Miller brought his A-game on his 32nd birthday.  Last game Miller dominated with his post game.  He did some more of that, but tonight he really displayed what I consider arguably the best mid-range game in the NBA.  Mixed with some swift ball-handling to get in position, Miller nailed jumper after jumper after jumper in that 15-17 foot range.  It was textbook and refreshing to watch.  Andre Miller’s line: 28 pts, 12 asts, 4 tos, on 13-21 shooting.
  • A.I. did his thing – but it was quiet greatness.  Sure he scored 32 points, had 8 dimes, only 2 turns and shot 54% from the floor.  But it wasn’t explosive, more like business as usual for the Answer.  He had one HUGE shot late in the 4th quarter when Denver was down 3; he nailed a much-contested three-pointer to even the score.  But that is where his heroics ended.  The most interesting thing I noticed about A.I was his competitiveness; he didn’t want to be shown up even once.  Every time a Sixers player would score or shake him, Iverson would come down court and go right at him.  Tonight he scored on nearly every possession after someone scored on him.  A little something I like to call “Right Back!”
  • In such an offensively dominated game (the Sixers had 9 uncontested dunks in the first half), the 76ers won on the defensive end.  And almost lost it at the free throw line shooting a disgraceful 54.5%.  You could see Mo Cheeks mimicking the foul shot motion in the 4th quarter when his guys were at the line, like he was trying to will it in for them.  Through three quarters the 76ers on average allowed 31 points per quarter.  Coach Cheeks got his team to slow the game down and as Mark Zumoff would say “Lock all windows and doors” only giving up 20 points in the final quarter.  The stellar defense reached his peak with the score tied at 110-110.  Sammy D. came through again with two huge blocks on Carmelo Anthony.
  • The final game note is about the fans.  The entire game the Philly fans were 100% supportive every time A.I. touched the ball, scored or made a great play.  They cheered loud and often. That is until with about 10-minutes left in the fourth quarter when the game got a little closer and it was clearly “winning time” for the home team.  At that point every time Iverson got the ball or scored you could hear boo’s, mixed in with significantly less cheering from the crowd.  This should answer the question of whether the majority of the spectators were Sixers fans who loved A.I. or strictly Iverson fans living in Philly.

At the end of the night, it was just another Sixers victory.  But this one puts the team at .500 since the 4th game of the season when we were 2-2. 

I caught myself watching the league-wide scoreboard during the game to see keep an eye on what Washington was doing.  Sadly, the Wizards won another game we all were hoping they would and should lose.  Still only a half game back I am confident the Sixers will get it done.  Move into the 6th seed by season’s end and set up the perfect match-up in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Who Got Robbed? 2008 NBA All-Star Snubs

The National Basketball Associations is loaded with exceptional players that do things on the court we as fans can only dream about.  So when the time comes for NBA coaches and fans to choose All-Stars, the 12 best (and fan favorite)  players in the league, there are bound to be some unlucky guys that don’t make the cut.  Here’s the Recliner GM’s take on the players that did, and didn’t get invited to New Orleans this season.

East Starters

West Starters

Jason Kidd – Guard

Allen Iverson – Guard

Dwyane Wade – Guard

Kobe Bryant – Guard

LeBron James – Forward

Carmelo Anthony – Forward

Kevin Garnett – Forward

Tim Duncan – Forward

Dwight Howard – Center

Yao Ming – Center

Who Should be Starting

Surprisingly I think we (the fans)did a good job picking the All-Star starters based on current season performance and potential entertainment value.  With that said there was one very noticeable slip-up.

Chris Paul – The clear mid-season MVPshould be making his first All-Star game as a starter.  Who would he replace?  Sad to say my beloved Allen Iverson.  AI does belong on the team as a reserve because he is having one of his most efficient season of his career, continuing to put up ridiculous numbers at his size. Chris Paul on the other hand is without a doubt the best PG in the NBA this year and the 2nd best guard (behind Kobe)overall.  Unfortunately for Paul a two main factors were working against him. 

  1. The Hornets weren’t expected to be this good this season therefore not much TV time scheduled to showcase his game.  
  2. Iverson has developed a cult like following the last 11 years that has spread far beyond the borders of Philadelphia and Denver.

Besides Paul I don’t have any qualms with any of the other starters.  But I am sure you guys do.  So make a case (in the comments) for another player you think should be starting (and who you would bench) and I will respond with my argument for the voted in player. 

On to the reserves…

East Reserves

West Reserves

Chauncey Billups – Guard

Chris Paul – Guard

Rip Hamilton – Guard

Steve Nash – Guard

Caron Butler – Forward

Dirk Nowitzki– Forward

Paul Pierce – Forward

Carlos Boozer– Forward

Chris Bosh – Center

Amare Stoudemire – Center

Antawn Jamison – Wild Card

Brandon Roy – Wild Card

Joe Johnson – Wild Card

David West – Wild Card

Who Should be on the Team That Got Snubbed

Luckily the coaches pick the reserves and not the fans, otherwise there would be a whole lot of upset NBA players.  Why?  We (the fans) are not always the most rational bunch especially when it comes to our favorite players.  That is the main reason you see Vince Carter being named a starter when his best playing days (aka playing hard every night) had passed him.  With that said…

The biggest All-Star game surprise addition that really shouldn’t be a surprise to you:

David West   Yes, the Western conference is stacked with forwards and this season West has been one of the best.  Although Chris Paul is the most impactful player on that team West has been a consistent force with his inside game.  19.6ppg, 9.4rpg and just over 1 block a night on the best team in the West means you’re an All-Star in my book.  Sorry Josh Howard who also deserved to make the team. 

 

Marcus Camby– I am with Charles Barkley on this omission.  I don’t know how much more I have to say (check the write-up & comments here) about this guy.  His impact and importance to the Nuggets team rivals both Carmelo’s and Iverson’s.  He is the best defensive player in the league and shouldn’t be penalized because the All-Star game is predominately an offensive display to benefit the fans.  Especially when one of the measuring sticks of a player is All-Star game appearances.  Sadly this makes sense because if Boston with the best record in the league doesn’t have 3 guys make it Denver surely should not either.  I think Camby deserves it over Melo considering Anthony’s scoring and shooting numbers are all down this season whereas Camby is having the best season of his career in rebounds and blocks.

Other deserving players:

Ray Allen – Question is do you give Boston 3 players?  If so Ray Allen should have made it over Joe Johnson for sure.

Josh Smith – If you’re going to put an Atlanta Hawk on the team I prefer Smith over Joe Johnson ALL DAY.

Baron Davis – Among point guards B. Diddy is 1st in scoring, 2nd in rebounding, 7th in assist and sports a respectable 3.0 assist/turnover ratio.  Come to the East and pick up where AI left off as an All-Star Starter.

Josh Howard – He was an All-Star reserve last season and has increased his scoring, rebounding and shooting %s this season.  So why isn’t he on the team again?

Deron Williams – Only thing I can really say is “sorry dude.”  There are way too many stud guards in the West.  Had AI not been voted in by the fans it would have been intersting what the coaches would have done.

Jose Calderon – He really just suffered from not being a starter all year.  Had he been the open day starter you’d be hard pressed not to pick him over Joe Johnson.

Hedu Turkoglu – He has surprisingly been better than Rashard Lewis this season, at a much cheaper price as well.  But I wouldn’t pick him over Butler or Pierce this season.

Tony Parker & Andrew Bynum – Got hurt and ended their hopes of running & gunning with the rest of the All-Stars.

Chris Kaman & Al Jefferson – Coaches rarely reward the bad teams.  Tough luck.

Manu Ginobili – TELL YOUR COACH YOU’RE A DAMN STARTER.   

Snubs or not we all know the game will be just as exciting as ever.  But there are only 12 spots and the coaches have an impossible job picking the 14 best players not chosen by the fans.  So which one of your favorite players got robbed?

The Recliner GM’s COMPLETE NBA Mid-Season Awards

With the NBA season passed its midpoint I feel it necessary as a true Recliner GM to give out some accolades – and stir up some healthy debate.  With so much outstanding individual play I almost copped out and gave awards to both Eastern and Western Conference players.  That would have appeased way too many people (not the goal) and made for a post twice as long as this already is.  With that said, let’s start the debate.    

League MVP

NBA MVP AwardChris Paul– To me this is a no-brainer.  Paul is the best player on the team with the best record in the much tougher Western Conference.   This season he has clearly been the best point guard in the game, snatching the title from Steve Nash.  Paul has rejuvenated Peja Stojakovic’s career, brought out the best in Tyson Chandler and has developed a bond with David West that could blossom into a great partnership a la Stockton & Malone – but more fun to watch.  Combine that with his potentially historic stats (steals weren’t kept when the Big O played): 20.6ppg, 10.5apg, 2.6spg (2ndto LeBron in PER)all while shooting 48.4% from the field, and you have a player that embodies a dominant pass-first point guard.   Oh yeah and he’s only 22.  Besides all of that this pick will effectively rile up all the Kobe lovers, LeBron advocates and Boston faithful.

Honorable Mention:  Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Brandon Roy & Marcus Camby (yes, Marcus Camby)  

Rookie of the Year

Rookie of the Year AwardKevin Durant – I give this to him almost out of sympathy.  He was the only rookie with the entire weight of a struggling franchise thrust onto his shoulders in this draft class.  Has he lived up to the hype after his amazing freshman year at Texas? NO.  But how could he?  He is scoring a respectable 19.3ppg but shooting only 39.8% from the field and 28% from three.  I attribute his poor shooting to a terrible team which allows defenses to game plan only to stop Durant.  This leads to overall poor shot selection (mainly settling for too many jumpers)and forced shots as the team’s only true scorer and default go-to man.  With that said Durant has still made the biggest impact of any rookie, with Al Horford nipping at his heels.

Honorable Mention: Al Horford, Juan Carlos Navarro, Yi Jianlian

Defensive Player of the Year

Defensive Player of the Year - Marcus CambyMarcus Camby – So we all know about the blocks – 3.84blkpg & 5.24 blkp48m, leading the NBA easily.  But what goes unnoticed is that he rarely fouls out while playing such exceptional defense (2 DQ this season).  Meaning Denver gets his defensive presence on the court more often than other hackers/shot blockers in the league.  Need more convincing?  Probably not, but here’s some for the die hard KG backers (like myself); 1.40 BLK/PF (blocks per foul)probably the most overlooked stat for a shot blocker.  Camby is the only player over 1, and his current mark ranks 3rd best in the last 8 years.  24 boards and 11 blocks in a game, only one other player has done this or better in the last 20 years (1993 version of Shaq)!    

Honorable Mention: Bruce Bowen (really have to watch him play a lot to understand his impact since he doesn’t show up in the stats much), Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard

Most Improved Player

Most Improved Player AwardAndrew Bynum – You gotta love it when a big man plays the way a big man is supposed to – Catch & Dunk Everything.  That is exactly what Bynum was doing before the injury bug caught up to him.  This is also why Kobe had no choice but to change his tune and fall in love with the kid.  Numbers: 13.1ppg, 10.2rpg (would be 12th if he didn’t get hurt), 2.06blkpg (9th), 63.6% fgs (1st) all while only playing 7 more minutes per game than last season.

Honorable Mention: Al Jefferson (A Minnesota fan called me on this omission, so here I am correcting my slip up.  This guy definitely deserves mention as he often goes unnoticed on the struggling Timberwolves)Rudy Gay, Chris Kaman, Lamarcus Aldridge, Danny Granger (he has increased most of his numbers while playing the same # of minutes – only one of the bunch), John Salmons (of course he would get better in every statistical category AFTER Billy King trades him – he is shooting 51.5%!!)

Sixth Man

Sixth Man of the Year AwardManu Ginobili– Let me first confess I am not a Ginobili fan at all so this will be short.  I am, however, unbiased enough to admit he is by far the best non-starter in the NBA (which makes no sense considering he is vastly better than Michael Finley who would be a perfect bench player).  Manu provides instant offense, pesky defense and a consistent 3-pt threat to open things up for Tim Duncan.    

Honorable Mention: Leandro Barbosa, David (Please Trade Him Before He Rots on the Bench of a Horrendous Team) Lee, Jason Maxiell, Travis Outlaw, Jeff Foster (leads the Pacers in rebounding off the bench)

Coach of the year

Coach of the Year AwardNate McMillan– He has the young Trailblazers playing with confidence, chemistry and a winning attitude.  All things no one would have imagined once the bad news about Greg Oden was announced.  Portland exemplifies team basketball, an unselfish mentality typified by McMillan’s own playing career.  

Honorable Mention:  Byron Scott, Eddie Jordan, Doc Rivers (playing the Phil Jackson role)

Executive of the Year/Biggest Surprise

Kevin Pritchard/Portland Trailblazers – The biggest surprise of the season easily goes to the Portland Trailblazers.  Predicted to be 26th in preseason rankingsare not only in the playoffs ahead of Denver and Houston but are only a ½ game behind Utah for first in the Northeast Division.  Most of the praise for the team’s success has been spread between an emerging superstar in Brandon Roy, vastly improved Lamarcus Aldridge and the masterful coaching job of Nate McMillan.  But an overlooked piece of the team’s fortune this season is in the calculated moves made by current GM Kevin Pritchard.  He cleaned house getting rid of bad character guys, bad contracts and effectively created a team the Portland fans can like.  The best explanation of this strategy is by Bill Simmons who coined the term: Chemacterility (chemistry, character & (cap) flexibility).  Pritchard gets the edge over Danny Ainge because he created a successful and young team without the perennial superstars. 

Honorable Mention: Danny Ainge (I am a Philly fan so you can imagine I am not all that happy about all this Boston Celtic success.  But I can’t hate them as much as normal because Ainge acquired such likable superstars in Allen and KG.)

All-NBA

First Team (easy):
Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard

Second Team (tough):
Steve Nash, Allen Iverson, Carlos Boozer, Tim Duncan, Yao Ming

Third Team (nearly impossible to pick):
Deron Williams, Brandon Roy, Caron Butler, Dirk Nowitzki, Amare Stoudemire

 Recliner GM Originals

Most Visible Scrub of the Year

Kwame Brown – I’ve wanted to write something about Brown for some time now so I created an award just for him (how nice of me).  This isn’t going to be another Kwame bashing about his stone hands, inability to finish dunks & lay-ups consistently at 6’11, getting booed at home, being the player doing the least with the most talent (hint: he isn’t really that talented) or being one of the poster boys for NBA draft pick busts.  Instead it’s simply to point out that Kwame is NOT the worst player in the league, only the most noticeable and Sportscenter-highlighted below-average player in the NBA.

Step My Game Up in Place of an Injured Superstar Award

Antawn Jamison – 17.8ppg and 9.6rpg is what Jamison averaged before Gilbert Arenas got hurt.  After – he has averaged 22.2ppg and 10.9rpg, and Washington’s winning % is .600 compared to .375 in the first 8 games with Gilbert.  Jamison is somehow having a career year in his 10th season and is one of five players averaging 20 points & 10 boards.

Where the Hell Have You Been Award – Adonal Foyle

Please Stop Shooting (or shoot better) Award Larry Hughes, this guy is definitely in favor of this selection.

Fans Choice:

Why Would You Sign Him to Our Team Award – Chris Webber

Get This Guy Off Our Team Award –Stephon Marbury, if you haven’t already please enjoy.

Check out these NBA Mid-Season Awards from other bloggers:

There you have it.  If I thoroughly annoyed you with some of my selections or you just don’t agree, feel free to argue your players.  This post also serves as a measuring stick for when the real awards are given out at the end of the year.  But who cares – these are Recliner GM Awards.  Nothing else really matters.

Amazing Irregularity: 10 Stats Unique to A.I.

He just continues to astound. As a Sixers fan, I remember 3 years ago hearing that Allen Iverson, coming off an injury, had taken too much of a beating, was too small, and left it all on the court too often to continue to play at such a high level anymore. Once you hit 30, guards of his size hit a wall. There were piles of stats to prove it. And those guards were bigger than him, stronger than him, didn’t throw their bodies into the paint like they were made of stainless steel. He was done, it was over. That is, until he won his 4th scoring title.

A year later, the off-season brings the same concerns. Surely THIS is the year he breaks down. It has to be… until…33.0 points per game. The highest of his career, and the highest by anyone in NBA history over the age of 30.

Two years later, Iverson is in a new city, is 32 years old, and is playing some of the best basketball of his career. He is an irregularity, an anomaly. A 5 foot, 11 inch, 165-pounder who can score at will, take a beating while playing more minutes than anyone else, and do so into his 30’s. Below are 10 interesting stats that paint a picture of Iverson, a player like none we will see again.

  1. This season, he is averaging more points than Kobe Bryant, more assists than Tony Parker and more steals than everyone except Chris Paul and Baron Davis.
  2. Iverson is shooting the highest FG% of his career (46.5%), a higher percentage than Kobe, Chris Bosh and Paul Pierce.
  3. If he keeps this pace, he will be the oldest player to average 25 points, 7 assists and 2 steals per game in a season – by 3 years (Larry Bird, 29).
  4. Iverson is 3rd all-time in PPG (27.8) and 5th in Steals (2.29 per game).
  5. If he plays 5 more seasons, at below career averages of 22 ppg, 6 apg, 1.5 spg and 70 games per season. He would finish 5th all time in points (29,413), 13th in assists (6,971) and 4th in steals (2,315). He would also join Oscar Robertson as the only players in the top 15 all-time in points and assists.
  6. Owns the top 8 seasons for PPG by a player under 6 feet tall.
  7. Has 3,764 more points than anyone under 6 feet (Calvin Murphy). He has 10,056 more than the 3rd ranked player (Damon Stoudamire). Also, he just passed Stoudemire for most rebounds in a career by a player under 6-feet (2,993).
  8. At 165 pounds, ranks 4th all-time in minutes per game (41.8) – behind Chamberlain, Russell and Robertson – and 5th all-time in Free-Throws per game (9.2).
  9. Since his rookie season (1996-97), has 1,562 more points than anyone in the league, 202 more steals, is 7th in assists and 2nd in minutes.
  10. One of 2 players to average 30 ppg in the playoffs – the other being Michael Jordan.

My all-time NBA team: Can you beat me in a 7-game series?

The Big O invented the fade awayI challenge everyone to a NBA 7-game series.  I want to see how my twelve guys match up against yours.  I won’t have who I think are the 12 best players although I definitely will have a few.  I am starting 3 guards, but don’t think you can take advantage of me at the small forward spot.  And I have a fortress in the paint, starting 2 centers.

Coach – Chuck DalyWhy? Because he coached the greatest team ever assembled – the 1992 Olympic Dream Team.  He has also proven himself by winning back-to-back NBA championships with the Pistons.

Starters:

Guard – Michael Jordan – This is my killer.  His competitiveness and will can carry an entire basketball team.  MJ in my opinion is the best player ever to grace a basketball court, no question (Bill Russell is a close 2nd).  Some may say that statement is debatable. And the main player people like to argue (not even close) is Wilt Chamberlain, since he is probably the only guy who would vote for himself as the greatest anyway.  Just about every other hall-of-famer or greatest-ever comparable would tell you themselves that MJ is the best.  That by itself should be enough to end that argument. 

Guard – Oscar Robertson – This is my all-purpose stud.  The big O spawned the bigger combo guard who can do everything.  Score from everywhere on the court, rebound and dish.  He did something that will never be duplicated EVER.  Not only did he average a triple-double in a full season (1961-62 – averaging 30.8 points, 11.4 assists and 12.5 rebounds per game), but if you put together his first 5 seasons (400+ games), he averaged a triple-double from 1960 to 1965.  That is freakin’ ridiculous! And people are in awe of King James…

Guard – Magic Johnson – My floor leader and the best point guard of all-time – and he was really a power forward at 6′ 9.  Can play all 5 positions, sees all the passing angles and can thread the needle in every situation. At that size he can score on anyone and is the perfect guy to run the fast break with MJ (think 1992 Dream Team). Not to mention completely unselfish and all about winning.

Power Forward – Bill Russell – My second and third line of defense and the best big man and greatest winner in the history of the game.  He matches up well vs. some of the quicker bigs because he was very agile for his size and clearly held his own against the bigger guys (Wilt Chamberlain) as well. 

Side note: I have to take a moment to explain why The Big Dipper is not on my team.  Think back to game 7 of the 1970 NBA finals.  With a severely torn muscle in his thigh Willis Reed made a heroic appearance from the locker room to match up against arguably the most dominant big man ever.  Reed went on to score the first two buckets of the game vs. Wilt and inspired his team to victory.  An immeasurable display of leadership that in my opinion should never have happened.  Basketball, and any sport, is about winning, taking advantage of every (allowable) edge you have and not giving anyone a free pass.  And that is exactly what Chamberlain did in that game.  He should have PUNCHED those two shots into the 3rd row seats sending a message to the Knicks that in no way, shape or form was it their day to win.  That has always bugged me and for that reason I cannot have Wilt on my team.

Center – Moses Malone – This is my bruiser.  My relentless rebounder, shot blocker and post defender.  I had to start him because he was the missing piece that led the Sixers to the 1983 championship; he is my hometown guy.  He is going to make sure nobody comes down the lane for any freebies and dominate the boards.  This guy actually had 15 OFFENSIVE rebounds in a playoff game. Wow.

Bench:

Isiah ThomasThis was a tough pick for me.  It was between Isiah and A.I. (check his career playoff numbers and you won’t be as surprised why this was a bit of a dilemma).  Ultimately it came down to winning, and although Iverson is my dude, Isiah is the proven champion.  Not that I would be losing much as Thomas was just as electric with the rock as the “Answer”.

Reggie Miller – In this day and age you can’t win without a consistent threat from beyond the 3-point line.  You saw how the US team struggled in the last Olympics because they didn’t have a shooter.  Well, here is the best in the history of the NBA.  And if somehow I end up down 3 late you can be assured Reggie will be ready to nail that clutch triple at the buzzer.  That is if MJ lets someone else shoot with the game on the line anyway!

Larry BirdThis quote sums up why Larry “Legend” (not to mention it’s Larry “Legend”) is on my team – “The one thing that always bothered me when I played in the NBA was I really got irritated when they put a white guy on me,” Bird said. “I still don’t understand why. A white guy would come out (and) I would always ask him: ‘What, do you have a problem with your coach? Did your coach do this to you?’ And he’d go, ‘No,’ and I’d say, ‘Come on, you got a white guy coming out here to guard me; you got no chance.’ For some reason, that always bothered me when I was playing against a white guy.” “Disrespect,” Magic said. Said Bird: “Yeah, disrespect.” Full 2-on-2 interview

Kevin GarnettI had to have at least one current player on my team, and right now this is my favorite.  His energy, unselfishness and ability to do just about everything from the power forward spot are the reasons he fits well on this team.  I needed a strong passing big man to play the high-low game. As well as hit the pick-and-pop jumper when he sets perimeter screens.

Hakeem OlajuwonThis was a toss up between Hakeem and Shaquille O’Neal.  The deciding factors were free-throw shooting and versatility.  I didn’t want to have any weak links on this team.  The Diesel opens this team up to the Hack-A-Shaq strategy and bigger defensive mismatches against pick-and-rolls.  Really though, I just want the “Dream Shake” on my team!

Utility Guys:

Scottie Pippen

Robert Horry

There you have it.  Can anyone think of a better, more well-rounded team?

1-Year Anniversary of the A.I. Trade: Was it the “Answer”?

The single greatest moment in the history of Allen Iverson with the Sixers.  The good old days.Allen Iverson doesn’t seem to think so:

“If I was still in Philadelphia, I don’t think they would be in the predicament that they’re in right now,” Iverson said. “The way the East is, I would think that we would be right there in the hunt. . . . I look at (Philadelphia’s) games right now, and it looks like a rec league game or an AAU game when you see the attendance there. It just looks dull.” – Rocky Mountain News

Exactly one year from the worst day in the history of me being a Philadelphia 76ers fan I got to thinking: was that trade the answer? Was trading the most beloved basketball player in Philadelphia since Dr. J the right move to turn around the Sixers’ plummeting attendance and unbearable performance?  Let’s take a look…

Sixers got:

Andre Miller,

Expiring contract of Joe smith and

2 first round draft picks – Jason Smith and the since-waived Derrick Byars (this kid was sick at Vanderbilt; I would take him over Rodney Carney any day of the week)

Nuggets got:

Allen Iverson

Ivan McFarland (not even worth mentioning)

Fast forward to December 19th, 2007 what is the state of the Sixers one year later? Here are the top 5 positive outcomes of the trade:

  1. Billy King fired
  2. Billy King fired – and someone that actually knows how to spell basketball was hired
  3. Billy King fired – we won’t have a GM with the brain of a chimpanzee spending the money
  4. We have enough money to aggressively go after Elton Brand this summer
  5. Andre Miller is a solid veteran pass-first PG to distribute the ball (if only he had anyone really worth passing to!)

And the negatives:

  • Allen Iverson 2007 #s (I thought he was declining and couldn’t keep up this pace?):
    • Best FG% of his career – 46.6%
    • 2nd best APG of his career – 7.5 (wait that’s better than Andre Miller)
    • Taking less 3pt shots and shooting the 4th best % of his career – 32.8%
    • On Dec. 5th while the Sixers were getting handled by the Celtics in front of a half filled arena A.I. was preparing to drop 51 on the Lakers (I am crying as I type this!)
  • No superstar worth paying to watch play
  • Sixers record: 10-14 including the 5th worst scoring offense (at least if they were high scoring they could be exciting to watch)
  • Sixers average attendance: 12,126 (second worst in the NBA)

Bill Simmons says it best, “The lesson, as always: Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER trade a superstar for less than 75 cents on the dollar.”

With that said I believe the jury is still out given the change in GM.  The feeling in Philly now that Ed’s the man is a sense of confidence and hope.  I believe this summer will be the defining time for this franchise given the circumstances explained in the previous posts (1, 2).  It will either be the changing of the tide for the Sixers or the continued agony of their fans.

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