Call it what you will, but I feel that AI went through an adjustment period that seemed to take way too long last season. His numbers with the Sixers in November were 31.7 points, 7.1 assists, and three rebounds before consistently dwindling to 22.8 points. 6.8 assists, and still three rebounds in April with the Nuggets. I can understand that his points dropped because of mainly playing with another competent scorer in Carmelo Anthony, but what surprised me was how AI’s assist total didn’t rise. Especially after the Nuggets won eleven out of the twelve games that he recorded double digit assists in.
But one thing was blatantly apparent to me about the addition of AI to the Nuggets. There is no question about what position Iverson plays. He is a SHOOTING guard and anyone who tries to tell you differently is living on another planet! When AI plays point guard, he spends way too much shot clock probing the defense with the dribble instead of starting the offense with the pass. I wish there was a statistic that I could use to illustrate this point, but you’re going to have to just trust me on this one. I haven’t missed a Nuggets game in five years running, and the distinction between the point guard we traded and the shooting guard we gained is crystal clear.
The few disappointing aspect of Allen Iverson’s first year with the Nuggets were his playoff series with the Spurs and his free-throw shooting in the month of April. The Answer left the Nuggets scratching their heads with questions as he only connected on 36% of his shots in the San Antonio series on his way to averaging 22.8 points and only 5.8 assists. His free-throw shooting was also atrocious in the month of April as he made only 61% of his charity attempts while also shooting only seven freebies on average which is uncharacteristic of the always attacking Iverson.
However, all in all, if I could turn back the hands of time the only thing I would change is getting Allen Iverson sooner! He gives this team a legitimate second option on offense and his desire to win is amazing. The Nuggets now only need to pair him with a defensive minded distributor who doesn’t mind taking a backseat to his backcourt counterpart just as long as the win column stacks up. I truly do feel that if this team can do that, in addition to having Kenyon Martin return and contribute while having the same cast of characters for an entire season, they can crack the top four spots in the Western Conference and not have to face a buzz saw in the first round of next year’s playoffs.