While Iverson is an obvious asset on the offensive end with a near 30-point career average, it’s hard to say who won in this trade.
Sure, Iverson averages nearly 3 steals for his career, but he doesn’t exactly play on-the-ball defense, but Chauncey Billups does and he also has a nickname, “Mr. Big Shot” which didn’t come about by coincidence. He hit shot after shot at the end of big games in leading his Pistons’ team to an NBA championship in 2004 to beat a legend-laden Lakers team.
Billups’ injury single-handedly sunk the Pistons playoff chances in the 2007-08 season. And Detroit may think they’ve found their next great point guard in Rodney Stuckey who is, indeed, a future star, but he’s no Billups — at least not now.
This trade also signals the disbandment of a group that was the model of what an NBA team should look, act and play like. Model citizens on and off the court — even though Rasheed Wallace is due a technical foul every once and a while. They showed that a “team” could win a championship. Since the days of Magic and Bird, hell, maybe even Wilt, there hasn’t been a team without a focal point who everyone knew was getting the ball and who took a countless amount of bad shots.
Richard Hamilton doesn’t know what a bad shot is; Allen Iverson surely does though. I’m sure many people will look at this trade and paint a picture illustrating what Denver loss, but I think we all lost — we all lost out on what “real” basketball is.
Wallace rebounding the ball and shooting his fade away, Tayshawn Prince playing shut-down defense and Rip cutting to the ball at the free-throw line for — what is a lost art — the mid-range jump shot. And then, there is Chauncey Billups — the focal point if there ever was one on the Pistons — playing tough defense and hitting three-point shots that caused joy for his teammates and anguish for his opponents.
Iverson will change all that; he’ll take bad shots, play shoddy defense and use passing lanes as a means for offense while he leaves teammates out to dry. I might seem to be coming down hard on the little man, but it isn’t so much him as a style of play. He’s a great talent, no doubt, but I always felt like any NBA player could score 30 if he had 30 cracks at it — just my opinion.
As for the real answer to the question of the real winners, we’ll know in June. But I’m guessing Detroit will be a bit better with a host of weapons and a pass-first point guard.
Oh, I literally almost forgot and was wrapping up this post; where does Antonio McDyess play in this? He doesn’t. He’s going to a team full of high-flying, three-point shooting big men, which doesn’t bode well for his playing time. The vintage, before knee surgery McDyess would flourish in Denver’s offense, but he’s been a shell of himself for years.