Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Iverson trade breakdown

No more refreshing ESPN.com every 20 minutes, Allen Iverson is finally on the move. AI was dealt to Denver for Andre Miller, Joe Smith, & two 2007 first-round picks (Denver's & Dallas'). The Nugs now have two 30-point scorers on the perimeter but are left without a true point on the entire roster. From Philly's point-o-view, I think they did a solid job by getting an above-average PG, back-up 4 with an expiring deal & 2 1st-round picks in a possible legendary draft. At least it is better than what Minnesota was supposedly offering. What follows is a little analysis of the deal:

-Will AI & Melo be able to co-exist? Both guys love to have the ball in their hands, alot. Both guys love to iso on the perimeter; Melo likes to work the baseline a little more. What's also interesting is George Karl's disike for "ballstoppers", and now he has two of the biggest culprits of "ballstopping" in the NBA on the wings together. Honestly, I really do not have a strong handle on how the pairing will turn out in the long run. I am just not sure at all. As easily as I could see them working off each other well, I could also easily see them not jelling well at all. That being said, I think this deal was worth the risk for the Nugs. But, The Nugs do need to pick up a true PG somewhere since they have none on their roster

-Denver is already one of the most explosive teams offensively, so will they be much better with AI? I do not think you'll see much difference in the regular season, but Iverson definitely can make a difference in the playoffs. The Nugs have been able to run up the score in the reg. season, but have fallen flat in the playoffs the last two years when forced into more of half-court game. In the playoffs, the opposing defense could send multiple guys at Melo all game long without any serious repercussions. Now with Iverson aboard, the Nugs will have two guys on the floor that often require double-teams and have the ability to really make the defense scramble. Although, now I would encourage opposing teams to throw a fair amount of zone at the Nugs.

-Do not quite agree with John Hollinger's take in his recent article. He is a little too optimistic for my tastes. He seems to be a little too sure that AI & Melo will work great together. Right now no one can be certain these two will co-exist seemlessly. And he fails to mention anything about Denver's defensive woes, which this deal does very little to resolve. Denver has not been too special on the defensive end, and I would not put Denver in the elite tier of Dallas, SA & Phoenix like Hollinger proposes.

-I would put Denver in the second tier of the West with the Rockets, Lakers & Jazz. Do I think the Nugs could possibly come out of the West? I would not be stunned, but right now they are not on the same level as the Spurs, Mavs & Suns. First, they have to prove that Melo & AI can flourish side-by-side. Even if that happens, they still need to improve their defense to be on equal footing as the Western heavys.

-Sixers' end of the deal: I thought Philly did a good job considering the circumstances. Hey, there was no way they were going to get fair market value, so they filled two of their biggest holes: PG & back-up PF. Andre Miller is a very underrated player & is having a very good year, and he gives Philly a legit starting PG they haven't had since Mo Cheeks' playing days. And now the Sixers do not have to worry about their PG spot for a few years. Joe Smith provides a solid back-up 4 (badly needed), plus his nearly $7 mil contract expires this year. On top of that they get 2 draft picks. Granted, those two picks should end up somewhere in the 20s, but this draft has the potential to be very deep. So the Sixers could either have three chances in a deep pool of talent or have leverage to move up in the draft.


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