Blog Entry

Melo: A.I. 'hurt' that he's not with Nuggets

Posted on: May 24, 2009 6:17 pm
DENVER -- When someone asked Carmelo Anthony on Sunday if he's still confident going into Game 4 of the Western Conference finals with a 2-1 deficit, his response reminded me of a certain All-Star who isn't here anymore.

"If we're not confident," 'Melo said, "we might as well not even dress up."

That was vintage Allen Iverson, whom I've heard say almost exactly those words hundreds of times over the last decade or so. I asked Anthony if he'd spoken with A.I. recently, given the Nuggets' meteoric rise to the conference finals without him -- and given that the point guard he was traded for has made all the difference.

"Yeah, I’ve talked to him a couple of times," Anthony said. "He just keeps saying, 'Go get it.' It kind of hurts him that he’s not here with us. That’s all he keeps saying is that he wanted to be with us. But he understands the situation."

So, too, did Kobe Bryant, who realized how significant the Iverson-for-Chauncey Billups trade was the minute he heard about it.

"When it went down, I called Carmelo and said, ‘You’re gonna like this trade,’" Bryant said. "Iverson is great. But for what this team needs, they needed a quarterback. And they have a quarterback. I knew it was going to be a problem as soon as it happened."

Bryant and Iverson came into the league together in the 1996 draft, but their careers have taken much different paths since they stole the show at the All-Star rookie game in Cleveland in '97. They were the brash new kids trying to nudge the venerable stars aside back then, and everyone wondered if Iverson with his cornrows and Kobe with his arrogance would be good or bad for the league. What a full-circle moment it would've been for Bryant and Iverson to meet again in the conference finals this year after colliding in the 2001 NBA Finals won by the Lakers. But of course, without the Iverson-for-Billups trade, the Nuggets most certainly wouldn't be here.

"That’s not what the team needed," Bryant said, when asked why things didn't work out in Denver with Iverson. "You can put together all the talent in the world. When I first came to the Lakers, we had four All-Stars. But it’s about what pieces go right with the others. And Chauncey was the piece that they needed. It just meshed extremely well."


Since: Sep 2, 2006
Posted on: May 27, 2009 5:28 pm

Melo: A.I. 'hurt' that he's not with Nuggets

Philly certainly didn't become better without AI, and Denver didn't improve THAT much.

As for Denver's problem with scoring, I was specifically referencing their SCORERS. JR Smith is very streaky and when Mello/Billups is on the bench, they have trouble scoring. They can pull it off, but another scorer would greatly improve their team.

As for Iverson not playing defense, are you mad? The only problem with Iverson's defense is that he's become slower. He's still a great offball defender, he just doesn't play as well onball. And that's okay if he's fast, and he still is (he's just no longer the quickest guy in the league). He's a good enough perimeter defender, too.

I think he'd hurt Denver, personally. I see him landing somewhere like Charlotte, Philly, Atlanta, maybe NYK. But he wants to be a team leader on a champion contender ... that'll be hard to come by.

Since: Sep 2, 2006
Posted on: May 26, 2009 11:40 am

Melo: A.I. 'hurt' that he's not with Nuggets

Maybe it hurts becuase he now realizes he's a cancer to the team.  Every team he has left became better.  I'm sure Tiki Barber felt hurt after he leaves the Giants they win the Superbowl.

Since: Jan 17, 2007
Posted on: May 25, 2009 11:37 pm

Melo: A.I. 'hurt' that he's not with Nuggets

I'm not sure they would want AI at the 2 spot.  They have JR Smith who is basically the same as AI minus the ego.  We saw in Detroit that AI doesn't know how to be the role player.  Smith does and thats why he fits so well in Denver.  If AI learned to be a role player then it might work but I'm not sure thats a risk Denver would take.

Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: May 25, 2009 7:05 pm

Melo: A.I. 'hurt' that he's not with Nuggets

Allen Iverson is too small to be a serious defender. The Nuggets problem is not scoring.  They averaged more than 104 in the regular season (good for free tacos most nights) and are averaging 111.5 in the playoffs.  A. I. likes to play the entire game if he can.  His minutes would have to come from somewhere and I think Dahntay Jones and J.R. Smith are a good 1-2 punch at the 2 guard.

And I am a big AI guy. I was thrilled when he was traded to Denver.

My 2¢

Since: Sep 2, 2006
Posted on: May 25, 2009 4:59 pm

Melo: A.I. 'hurt' that he's not with Nuggets

I suppose the Pistons felt Billups was getting old and he was due to make a lot of money that they didn't want to pay up for him. It was a mistake, obviously, seeing as Iverson is a shoot-first, "create your own shot" mentality PG where Billups would actually "play quarterback" and direct the offense in a team-oriented fashion. The Pistons play teamball. Billups is ideal, Iverson is the opposite.

It was a silly trade and the Pistons' style explains AI's performance. People think he's done -- trust me, he still has a few good runs left in him.

Since: Apr 8, 2009
Posted on: May 25, 2009 4:54 pm

Melo: A.I. 'hurt' that he's not with Nuggets

Like the article said with out Big Shot Billups the Nuggets are home watching the games instead of playing them. Detroit and Joe Dumars are highly upset about the trade, It made no sense to me why the Pistons would make such a trade. But hey I've seen stranger like how the Lakers got Gasol for next to nothing.

Since: Sep 2, 2006
Posted on: May 25, 2009 2:16 pm

Melo: A.I. 'hurt' that he's not with Nuggets

Oh, boy. If Iverson returned to Denver next year, I'd imagine it'd be a great team. Talent-wise, I mean. Nene at the 5, K-Martin at the 4, Marsh-Mello at the 3, The Answer at the 2, and Mr. Bigshot at the 1 guard. Then Birdman and JR Smith coming off the bench ... wow, talk about talent.

But chemistry? In this case, Denver already has a great team. Would adding AI screw up with the chemistry too much? They sure do need another dynamic scorer, that's their biggest (and really only) weakness.

I don't know if AI wants to be a "third option" though.

I'd love to see it happen - just like I'd love AI in Philly - I just can't see either working out.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: May 25, 2009 12:47 pm

Melo: A.I. 'hurt' that he's not with Nuggets

AI would be a great 2 guard if he would check his ego at the door. The guy can play, no doubt about it, he just can't lead.

Since: Apr 28, 2009
Posted on: May 25, 2009 11:47 am

Melo: A.I. 'hurt' that he's not with Nuggets

Is he saying he wants to try to come back to Denver next year? I wonder how that would play out.

Having a lineup that looks like:
PG - Chauncey Billups
SG - Allen Iverson
SF - Carmelo Anthony
PF - Kenyon Martin
C- Nene Hilario

Pretty scary I must say. Billups will have 2 great shooters and Iverson does not need to hold the ball or try to make a play. Don't know how egos will flare though.

Since: Dec 15, 2006
Posted on: May 25, 2009 9:52 am

Melo: A.I. 'hurt' that he's not with Nuggets

I really don't see why he would be hurt. Its true, The Nuggets would not be here without Billups and he knows that.

I guess thats it though? I don't know.

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