Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Allen Iverson


THE QUESTION:

How would Allen Iverson respond to being snubbed by the U.S. Olympic Basketball committee - even though he was one of the very few "stars" who honored his commitment in 2004, even though he was the captain of that '04 team and was the only player man enough to answer the media's postgame questions after tough losses (Tim Duncan was consistently MIA while Larry Brown's response was to blame everybody associated with U.S. basketball but himself), and even though he is still a top 10 player in this league - 2nd in points/game, 3rd in steals/game, 1st in minutes/game, 1st in FT attempts, 7th in the NBA's Efficiency Ranking, 8th in assists/game - all in the same year his shooting percentage is the second highest it has ever been in his career (44.8% - the same percentage as Kobe Bryant and better than Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, Chris Paul, Michael Redd, Chauncey Billups, and Luke Ridnour, by the way)?

Carmelo Anthony, Arenas, Shane Battier, Billups, Chris Bosh, Bruce Bowen, Elton Brand, Bryant, Dwight Howard, Josh Howard, LeBron James, Antawn Jamison, Joe Johnson, Rashard Lewis, Shawn Marion, Brad Miller, Chris Paul, Paul Pierce, Redd, Luke Ridnour, Amare Stoudemire, Dwyane Wade, plus Shaquille O'Neal, J.J. Redick, Greg Oden, and Adam Morrison...all chosen over Allen Iverson.

THE ANSWER:

March 1, 2006

45 Minutes, 40 Points, 10 Assists, 7 Rebounds, 16-29 shooting...

and 1 Win.

For more on this and a picture of a great Daily News headline, I suggest checking out The 700 Level's take...

4 Comments:

Anonymous mpn said...

xxx: It's kind of apples and oranges though, isn't it? AI is a GREAT NBA player... but Men's Olympic Basketball is not an NBA style of play is it? I think two things cost us the Gold in Athens: (1) Larry Brown, much like Dusty Baker, has some sort of pathology about not playing young guys (except maybe with the Knickerbockers, because, let's face it, what else is he going to do?) and (2) the Olympic committee didn't provide the team with a good mix of ballhandlers, perimeter shooters, and defense minded guys that you need for the international game.

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Bob said...

I am not sure if I would want a 32 year old Allen Iverson playing for the World Championships or a 34 year old AI playing for the Olympic team. Though Iverson still has skills and speed, and even though Iverson performed well during the last Olympics, the Olympic Committee has it right, bringing in the young players, some of whom will not mind being relagated as the last player on the bench. The biggest problem a few years back was players not understanding their roles. Iverson has never been a bench player, and would not appreciate being benched for Dwayne Wade. Speaking of the young players, Team USA is attempting not only to win via team basketball, but also keep interest in Team USA basketball. In playing 22 year olds, there are three positives: the players have time to mesh, their egos are checked at the door, and people will be interested in watching a team form. No AI is correct

3:39 PM  
Blogger XXX said...

I agree with a good bit of what both of you have to say, but my beef comes to your conclusions - we really see eye to eye more than you might think about AI's game, but we draw different conclusions when it comes right down to this decision to leave him off the team.

Team USA preaching about the merits of team building and checking egos at the door is one thing, but when they had a chance to show a little loyalty the other way, where were they? If they want commitment and loyalty and a team made up of "team players", maybe they should practice what they preach. AI was a true professional in Athens and stood up and showed real leadership on a horribly put together team full of me-first players ready to pass the buck and place blame elsewhere.

I think when those reasons above are combined with the fact that AI actually wants to devote 2 and half years of his life to the team, he absolutely deserves the respect of an invite.

On the basketball side of things, your arguments are strong. His style isn't particularly good for international competition and this US team would be best served with a steady, old school type of point guard. I agree with all of that. Dwyane Wade should be the starter at point. Chris Paul was a really nice choice. Luke Ridnour is a decent player, but he doesn't play a lick of defense. And, again, Gilbert Arenas? He is just a lesser version of AI who happens to be even more of a ballhog. The choices don't make all that much sense to me in that regard.

IF Allen Iverson would be willing to come off the bench for this team, he should have been picked for his pure basketball skills alone. IF not, I see where you're coming from with him as a bad fit on an international styled team. There has been no info one way or the other about this matter so you gotta draw your own conclusions - I personally think he'd be willing to accept a reduced role, but I'm basing that on nothing (wishful thinking maybe).

I think the whole decision wound up being far more about politics than about basketball by the way and I really, really question how much influence Coach K had on this particular omission.

8:53 PM  
Anonymous Chinpo said...

I see now that XXX has replied, keep in mind I haven't read what he had to say yet.

"Iverson has never been a bench player, and would not appreciate being benched for Dwayne Wade."

And players like Carmelo, Pierce, and Michael Redd won't appreciate coming off the bench? And honestly I don't even think Wade starting over Iverson would be a given.

"Speaking of the young players, Team USA is attempting not only to win via team basketball, but also keep interest in Team USA basketball."

Yeah, ignoring one of the most marketable players in the game is a good way to make people interested in USA basketball. People LOVE Allen Iverson, and if he was playing for the USA many of his fans who wouldn't normally give a damn will be watching.

9:39 PM  

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