The Sixers have announced that Allen Iverson has accepted their one-year, non-guaranteed deal for the veteran's minimum. The release included this ringing endorsement from GM Ed Stefanski: "In light of the recent injury to Lou Williams, which will sideline him for close to eight weeks, we felt that Allen was the best available free agent guard to help us at this time." More after the jump.
I'm on the record against this move from pretty much every basketball angle imaginable, but now that it's happened I just have to move on.
I'm truly glad Iverson accepted the non-guaranteed contract, to me it says he's serious about wanting to play basketball, he's got something to prove and essentially he ceded the control of the team back to the three Eds, for better or worse. Iverson is essentially on double-secret probation until January 10th (or until he lights up the scoreboard and it would be financial suicide to cut him). Missed practices, explosions in the press, chasing his wife around naked waving a gun, any episodes like this could end his NBA career abruptly, so hopefully he'll keep his nose clean for the time being.
Now that he's back, there are several question which need to be answered:
Will the Princeton Offense be abandoned?
The current roster, without Iverson, has been struggling with the principles and execution of the PO and they've had a full summer plus 18 games to get themselves familiar with it. Iverson is coming in cold, and he's going to be starting, probably playing 35+ minutes per game. How is he going to be able to run it right from day one? Not to mention the fact that Iverson is really only a viable offensive weapon when he has the ball in his hand and he's creating off the dribble, which is something that's been unbelievably rare for the Sixers so far this season. Is Eddie Jordan planning on using the PO to spring Iverson for 20-foot jumpers?
What about Jrue?
The rookie probably has two games of quality playing time left at this point, if that. Iverson will make his debut on Monday, at home, against the Nuggets. Does he immediately drop below Willie Green on the depth chart? If he does, we're probably in for less than 10 minutes/game of Jrue until Lou Williams comes back, then I doubt we'll see him regularly at all.
I'm not sure how you add a tragical hopeless defender to a squad that's already struggling mightily on the defensive end and expect to see any improvement in that area. Will the Sixers help even more to cover up for Iverson? Will they be able to guard anyone in the league with a small ball lineup like Iverson, Green, Iguodala, Thad, Dalembert?
Before his injury Lou Williams was averaging 12.9 shots/game on a 21.5% usage rate. Iverson's career lows in both categories are 14.6 and 25.7%, respectively, and that was in a reduced role last season with the Pistons. Out of whose share will the extra shots for Iverson come?
Take a stab at answering any/all of the questions in the comments. If you were in the pro-Iverson camp, congratulations. If you weren't, just remember, it's not his fault the team signed him. There's no reason to root against him, the guy did a lot for this city and I honestly hope this chapter in his story can have a happy ending.