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Blog Entry

Better off when A.I. is M.I.A.

Posted on: March 4, 2009 4:07 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2009 6:22 pm

The news that Allen Iverson must suspend all basketball activities for two weeks to rest his back injury was the best news the Detroit Pistons have gotten all season.

Nothing against Iverson. It's not his fault he was traded to Detroit. He didn't ask for it. He didn't tell Joe Dumars to send Chauncey Billups to Denver. I've known Iverson since his rookie year, and he's always been one of my favorite players. But it's pretty clear that the Pistons are better off without him.

Everybody knew that would be the case when Dumars made the trade. Someday, maybe Dumars will even admit as much. Iverson-for-Billups was a proactive move by Dumars to break up the Pistons before they got old and broke down on their own. At the end of the season, Dumars will have about $30 million in cap space at his disposal when Iverson and Rasheed Wallace come off the books.

But right now, the Pistons are showing that they're still dangerous when they play the way they've played since Iverson got hurt Tuesday night. Without A.I., Detroit might just be a sleeping giant in the East. With A.I., they were a disaster.

It wasn't all Iverson's fault. Spare me all the anti-A.I. rants about Iverson being a cancer. He has been who he is for 13 years, and he's not going to change now. The trade was a gamble from the get-go, and the final score won't be known for two more years.

Here is what has to happen over the next month and a half for the Pistons to make one more push with the core (minus Billups) intact. They have to keep thriving while Iverson is out. They're 3-0 without him so far, and a 5-3 record over the next two weeks would be respectable considering the schedule includes Atlanta, Orlando, Dallas, and Houston before Iverson would theoretically be ready to return March 20 against the Clippers.

Second -- and this is really the most important part -- Iverson has to suck it up and embrace his bench role once he returns. Everything depends on it -- for the Pistons and for Iverson.

Iverson's comments on being replaced in the starting lineup by Richard Hamilton have been classic A.I. Basically, he'll do whatever Michael Curry asks him to do. But then comes the "but," as in, "But I've never come off the bench in my career." But now he has no choice. He has to embrace the role and show teams that might be willing to sign him this summer that he's about the team and not about A.I. Think about all the opportunities he'll have to come in with the second unit and be the primary scorer, which he's been from the day he showed up in Philadelphia in 1996. It's a perfect role for him at this stage of his career, one that Curry should've recognized sooner.

If he doesn't embrace it, the Pistons will suffer and so will Iverson's reputation, which is already damaged enough. My official medical advice to A.I. is to eat two servings of humble pie and call me in two weeks. Then come off the bench for the rest of the season, do what you've done your whole career -- score the ball, without having to worry about getting Hamilton, Sheed, Tayshaun Prince, or anyone else involved -- and reap the benefits this summer when a contender sees how valuable you can be in that role.

These are all things Iverson is perfectly capable of doing. Maybe two weeks is enough time for him to decide that he wants to.


Since: Mar 18, 2009
Posted on: March 19, 2009 10:06 pm

Better off when A.I. is M.I.A.

 it is sad but true, that the fact is they are winning games without them, i saw that that the assists went up when he was not playing and stuckey had improve his game when he is with richard hamilton on the game and not allen iverson

Since: Oct 16, 2008
Posted on: March 6, 2009 11:31 am

Better off when A.I. is M.I.A.

Also forgot to mention they have Three 2nd rnd picks plus their first round pick. Wouldn't be suprised if Joe D dealt most of these picks. This years draft isn't that strong and any 1st rnd pick is going to count against cap room. Don't be shocked to see Mr. Dumars try to aquire picks from notoriously bad teams for the 2010 draft.

Also look for them to pick up a player like Goran Suton in the 2nd rnd this year as his rebounding ability, shooting range, and defensive prowess would fit well in the piston line up.

Since: Oct 16, 2008
Posted on: March 6, 2009 11:19 am

Better off when A.I. is M.I.A.

A little silver lining to all this is the fact that a 7 seed or 8 seed pistons team will get a decent draft pick plus they will have all that Cash to grab Boozer this year and maybe D-wade, Lebron, Bosh, or one of the other superstars in the 2010 loaded FA market. In fact with their record they would probably be picking around 18-19 in the draft, which is the same area they got Stuckey two years ago. That pick is working out pretty well.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: March 5, 2009 9:58 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Mar 5, 2009
Posted on: March 5, 2009 7:30 pm

Better off when A.I. is M.I.A.

if a.i can b himself and control the second unit there gona b very dangerous the only bad thing is rashweed...

Since: Dec 23, 2006
Posted on: March 5, 2009 10:50 am

Better off when A.I. is M.I.A.

I have always felt that Allan Iverson, pound for pound, was the best basketball player I have ever seen.  Now, if he can go from being The Man to being A Man, I think he will finish his career with a startling success somewhere (perhaps the Charlotte Bobcats or Atlanta Hawks) other than Detroit.  He can start down this road, IMO and obviously in that of others on this board, by being a high scoring, high energy bench player, not as much a microwave as an igniter, for the Pistons.  


Since: Dec 15, 2008
Posted on: March 5, 2009 9:06 am

Better off when A.I. is M.I.A.

Let's be real here.  This team has not one a ring since they let Ben Wallace go.  Cleveland has been int he playoffs since LBJ arrived and that still isn't enough.  AI definitely has to take a look at his career and except the fact that he has always been an exception to the rule.  A little man but a big scorer.  In this day and age, where players are so strong and fast and big, coming in with the second unit isn't that far off from starting where he is concerned.  He definitely would be the man off the bench.  He could be the next Vinnie Johnson until he retires.  Then he wouldn't have to pass at all.  Bottom line though is the Piston's downfall was not re-signing Ben Wallace, not giving up Chauncey Billups, not hiring Flip Saunders.  Ben was their heart and soul and they have just been a pretty good contender ever since.


Since: Mar 4, 2009
Posted on: March 4, 2009 11:50 pm

Better off when A.I. is M.I.A.

finally someone who speaks my language!!! this is perfect no AI and the pistons start winning!!! no AI and the nuggets become a title contender!!! what is this? bench RIP? no bench AI!! i like AI dont get me wrong but he is in the wrong place here in Det. let him go this summer along with Sheed!!! (I LOVE SHEED) and lets go for LJ23, Bosh, and/or Wade in 2010! sounds like a good plan to me!

Since: May 15, 2007
Posted on: March 4, 2009 11:41 pm

Better off when A.I. is M.I.A.

What most people apparently don't seem to understand is that this trade, in the short term, was a gamble at the very most. I really don't think Dumars thought that AI could fill the void Chauncey's departure created. He thought maybe it would work out alright, getting the 'stons to the playoffs and maybe making a little run, but I seriously doubt he had championship aspirations for this season. The trade was for the long term. 30 million coming off the books after this season, allowing us to go after two big name free agents in the next couple off seasons while still being a playoff team. How many other teams in the history of the NBA can be considered contenders (albeit farfetched) while undergoing a rebuilding season or two? Not many that's for sure.

As for the AI debate, I think Curry is the biggest culprit here. He should have realized from the get-go that AI should be coming off the bench. Because he is a young and inexperienced coach, I don't think he felt confident enough in himself to tell a future hall of famer to come off the bench. Hopefully this recent stretch of success has given him enough to tell AI to come off the bench. That's the only chance the Pistons have at making any sort of run this year/post-season. We'll see what happens in a couple weeks, but until then, let's hope they can keep up their winning ways and get back in the thick of the Eastern Conference.

Go Pistons!!

Since: Apr 21, 2008
Posted on: March 4, 2009 11:36 pm

Better off when A.I. is M.I.A.

Berger is right, A.I. would be perfect with the rest of the Pistons' underachieving bench, who can't score on their own.  However, the bigger question is this: in the last five minutes of a tight game, which five do you go with?  Will AI be MIA then?  If so, does he become a T.O.-style cancer?



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