The Hornets and Allen Iverson

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Published: November 18, 2009

Allen Iverson has walked away from Memphis in a huff, making him a free agent once again. Some folks in the comments here and on other sites have been wondering if the former league MVP would be a good fit in New Orleans. Let’s see…

The case for Allen Iverson

Iverson didn’t enjoy his time in Memphis because the Grizzlies wouldn’t give him a starting job, but the Hornets would have no trouble accommodating him there. After all, the shooting guard position has been a huge headache for New Orleans this season.

Morris Peterson was the starter for the first six games, but failed miserably at both ends of the floor and found himself relegated to the inactive list. Devin Brown has been the starting 2-guard since, and while he has fared better than expected, he has no business averaging more than five or six minutes per game in the NBA.

Then there’s the rookie Marcus Thornton, who has repeatedly shown flashes of brilliance and will likely earn the starting job soon if the roster stays as is. However, Thornton was a second-round draft pick, so best not set your expectations too high for him.

So, the Hornets could offer Iverson a starting job, and he’d be happy. He could take all those shots that Devin Brown and Marcus Thornton had been taking. He would demand a lot of defensive attention, thereby opening up the lane for West and Okafor to go to work. After a few weeks, Chris Paul would return from injury and find relief not having to carry so much of the scoring load. The Hornets would get hot and make the playoffs despite their poor start to the season. New Orleans Arena would be full to the rafters as CP3 and the Answer put a scare into some contenders in the West.

And then you’d wake up…

The case against Allen Iverson

Sorry, folks. Dreaming about it is fun, but it’s just not going to happen. Three reasons why:

Money

I’m sure Iverson could be had for cheap, but the fact is that the Hornets are still over the luxury tax threshold. That means that George Shinn would be on the hook for double whatever Iverson would sign for. I don’t see him taking that hit for a wildcard like A.I.

Character

The Hornets have been consistent about bringing in high-character players ever since Baron Davis threw a tantrum and had to be traded for almost nothing back in 2005. Yes, we have seen the odd Mike James or Bonzi Wells added to the mix since then, but those guys were small pieces; role players who could easily be held in check by the likes of Chris Paul and David West. Allen Iverson is a whole different story.

Team game

In hindsight, the whole idea of Iverson with the Hornets would have made a lot more sense a week ago, when Byron Scott was still coach. Scott relied heavily on the pick and roll and individual brilliance to win ball games, not worrying so much about running actual plays. Iverson would have fit in nicely. But now with Jeff Bower and Tim Floyd calling the shots, we’re seeing more ball movement and spacing in the Hornets offense. Nobody is being asked to dominate the ball and make something out of nothing. Unfortunately, Allen Iverson needs the ball in his hands to be effective, and he has repeatedly demonstrated that he’s not willing to change his style of play.

Three strikes. Iverson’s out.

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