The Baseline With Laz Jackson: Iverson Trade Thoughts

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Last time I was here, I was tellin’ y’all how the season would go. I’ve been wrong (Toronto is disappointing as hell right now) and I’ve been right (Atlanta was smokin’ like Jessica Alba for a second there). Just keep the faith, and hear the Baseline about my beloved Detroit Pistons’ trade for Allen Iverson after the tip.

People who know me best have been asking me what I think of the Iverson trade. I’ve been trying to word this as best I can, realizing that the trade is done and cannot be undone, and look at in the short and long term. Ultimately? I understand the trade. Don’t like it or dislike, but I understand it. Let’s break it down:

The last time the Pistons had a True Scorer anywhere near Iverson’s caliber? A man named Jerry Stackhouse. Before that? Um… Isiah Thomas? (Grant Hill wasn’t a scorer per se, he was more of a Swiss-Army Knife, doing whatever needed to be done.) So there’s a dimension there that we haven’t had for a long time, a guy who can create his own shot from anywhere on the floor. And as we saw in the Lakers game, when you space out ‘Sheed, opening up lanes for Iverson, it CAN be deadly. Pro.

Michael Curry is using the wrong starting lineup to maximize Iverson’s potential. Yes, that’s right, Stuckey should be starting at 1, Iverson at 2. Rip coming off the bench shores up the second-worst thing about this team (lack of GOOD depth). Taking Iverson off the ball frees him up from running the whole of the offense through him. Look how well Mr. Wade down in Miami has been doing since they relieved him of PG duties. And if he spots an opportunity, let him run the break, be a creator instead of a distributor. So even though it’s not his fault… Con.

The weakest part of this team is it’s startling lack of good big men. We have ‘Sheed. And then we have… “I alienated Kobe AND MJ” Kwame Brown? “I’m really 6-6 and a half” Jason Maxiell? “I have no idea how to score at the NBA level” Amir Johnson? No thanks. Dice meant that Maxiell was the second guy off the bench, and could do his whole energizing the crowd dunk routine. Dice was a ROCK, and this team misses him. Again, not Iverson’s fault, but that’s a Con.

We’re 4-5 since the trade. ONE GAME BELOW AVERAGE. With Chauncey, there is no way we lose to the Nets (and there’s also no way Devin Harris goes for 38 in that game), Phoenix (Chauncey DESTROYS Nash because he can post him up and tire him out) and Minnesota (No explanation necessary, even though I think that game was “just one of those nights” for everyone). But I also think we would have lost to the Lakers (Iverson MADE that game). So we’d be…6-3 with Chauncey right now, with double losses to Boston and a loss to L.A. Two more wins? Con.

The fact that our losses were against Boston and L.A. brings me to my next point. Do not be fooled, we are not competing for a championship this year. In my mind, there are four teams capable of winning rings right now: L.A., Boston, New Orleans, and Houston. San Antonio joins that group when TP and the Argentinean come back, and Cleveland joins that group if LeBron takes another half-step towards greatness. Notice how the Pistons are not on that list? I say this with a heavy heart, but I don’t think we have what it takes to win a ring this year. So trading for Iverson only makes sense in one sense… which is the next point. Con.

The trade opens up a ton of cap space next year, when Iverson and ‘Sheed’s contracts come off the books. There’s a chance that both those guys get re-signed, but Joe D, like EVERYONE else in the NBA, is looking at that free agent class of 2010 (The year LeBron, D-Wade, Chris Bosh, Carmelo, Michael Redd, Dirk, and Steve Nash all become free agents) and trying to clear room to sign a big name. Will I sacrifice two years we weren’t going to win a championship anyway for five where we have a shot? Hell yes I will. Just think of the Bosh-Prince-Stuckey core… Pro.

Looks like the negatives win out. Hopefully, I will be wrong about some things, but the trade just isn’t working in the short term for the Pistons. Get used to it, Detroit.

  • Dub

    Amare is also a free agent in 2010, along with Joe Johnson and it’s still a long list of others.

    Our best lineup is to go small with Iverson, although I think we should experiement with Rip at the 3 and Tay at the 4 and force people to play to our tempo. Do what the Suns did, except we have a more cohesive unit. And the bench? It’s a whole different type of game. Just when they’re getting used to a small lineup, we dominate with mismatches w/Maxiell & Dyess (who is on his way back in a week or so).

    Houston is ass. There’s something in the water down there, because no one can stay healthy. If that team can stay healthy for at least 70 games + playoffs then they’d have somewhat of a decent chance, but they still have no bench and no one outside of their big 3. If the Spurs get Marbury, as expected, then that will GREATLY improve their chances. TP at the 1, Marbury at the 2, Ginobli at the 3 (he can slash). That gives you the opportunity to have Finley & Bowen off the bench and not miss a step because they’ll be fresh. If they need D, then go w/Bowen to start and have Marbury coming off the bench, it’s still a win-win. If they don’t get Marbury, then they won’t go anywhere.

    That only leaves New Orleans (after LA)by default because the west is ass once again. Golden State had one year and died, Dallas can’t figure out what they need to do to get over the hump, Phoenix looks like a fucking retirement home (Nash, Shaq, Grant) like San Antonio, Houston can’t stay healthy enough to do anything and when both Yao & McGrady ARE healthy together they get in each others way. Houston has three Chiefs and no Indians. If Brand didn’t shit on Baron and leave for Philly (word, like the 76ers are any better?) then the Clippers would have a good ass shot. Portland had a fluke season, and now they’re ass once again.

    As for the East. There are only three teams in the East that are gonna compete and they are: Boston, Detroit, & Cleveland. Cleveland by default because the East is still thin. Pistons will make the Eastern Conference Finals again, at least.