Sunday, November 29, 2009

In Need of an Answer in Philly

The Philadelphia 76ers shipped off their former MVP and perennial all-star guard Allen Iverson 3 years ago after a 10 year marriage that included much turmoil, several run-ins with Johnny Law, and many skipped practices. Those ten years also included a winning record, an NBA Finals appearance and a stunning upset in game 1 over the heavily favored Lakers. Since 2006, the Sixers claimed to be in a rebuilding effort with Andre Igoudala as the new face of the team. However, it appears that the rebuilding efforts of the team have been for naught as they have failed to achieve any real success, and they seem to be mired in the realm of perennial first round playoff knockouts. The state of the Sixers begs the question; could the return of Allen Iverson be a benefit to the franchise?

I have always been a huge Allen Iverson fan. From the day he was drafted, to when he burst onto the scene in the NBA, to when he led the Sixers to an NBA Finals appearance. Even when Iverson got arrested for threatening his fiance with a gun in his waistband, or when he demanded to be traded out of Philadelphia, I still regarded him as my favorite basketball player of all time. I never really cared how thuggish he seemed to others, because he had the heart of a champion and defied his diminutive stature with gigantic plays on the court. Needless to say, I have not really cared about the Sixers since Iverson left town.

That is the biggest reason the Sixers need Iverson back. People care enough to watch him play. He puts butts in the seats. The once proud Sixers franchise has slipped to 29th out of 30 teams as far as average attendance is concerned. Honestly, nobody is going to pay to see Andre Igoudala or Elton Brand. Allen Iverson is a different story though. He brings a certain electricity with him to every game, and is never one to shy away from stirring up controversy. Right now, this is what the Sixers need.

Getting down to brass tacks, Iverson is 34 years old, and is coming off of several of his worst years in pro basketball. His scoring is way down, and he is nowhere near as quick as he used to be. But as I said before, that is not really why the Sixers should pick him up. The Sixers do not really appear to be going anywhere this year, so what would be the harm in bringing Iverson in as a sort of last hurrah for a guy who gave so much to the city? It would only cost them the veteran's minimum. Moreover, the injury to starting guard Lou Williams presents a need to bring in another guard anyway. The re-signing of Allen Iverson makes too much since for Philly not to do.

The big hurdle here is that Allen Iverson demands to be a starter. If some sort of agreement can not be reached between him and the Sixers about playing time, then Iverson seems content to walk away from the game for good. Again, I stress that the Sixers don't really appear to be going anywhere this year so they should take a chance on picking up a proven guy. I know one thing for sure; if the Sixers signed Allen Iverson, I would certainly start watching them again. Long live The Answer.

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