Note to Clippers: SIGN IVERSON

July 28, 2009 at 9:49 pm | Posted in nba | Leave a comment

O.K., I know, the visceral reaction to “Allan Iverson to the Clippers”  is to laugh it off as yet another high-profile move with disaster written all over it. Clipper fans are probably waking up with cold sweats and visions of Bill Walton’s wretched feet and Michael Olakwandi’s broken jumper. And Clippers management seems to have cooled off on the idea. But they could not be more wrong. The NBA is about windows of opportunity– combining end-of-career stars with incoming forces to rise above the salary-cap parity. Think Jabbar-Magic, or Shaq-Wade.

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Despite the current antipathy in NBA circles towards him, Baron Davis is an NBA force.  He is one of the few players today who can break down anyone, anytime. He gets great shots for his teammates, wide-open shots. And he can play shut-down defense at crunch time. Anyone that saw him lead the Warriors to victory over the Mavericks in the playoffs two years ago knows that he has what it takes to win a championship. He is not a man to bet against when his back is to the wall.

Baron is not Shaq or a Jabbar, and Blake Griffin may not prove as powerful an incoming force as Magic or Duane Wade. But the Clippers have two other NBA difference-makers. There’s Marcus Camby, who averaged over 11 boards and 2 blocks in 30 minutes per game last year. And  the strange phenomenon of the Chris Kaman. Nobody knows how good this giant can be, but he is already the best low-post power scorer since Shaq. A front-line of Kaman, Camby, and Griffin is nothing short of scary. With Baron playing Athilla, Western Conference foes will leave their women and children at home when these Huns arrive.

As is, the club is interesting. But they are not contenders, no matter how great Griffin proves to be.  With Baron’s knees and Camby’s age, the clock is ticking. But fate– the economy and lack of salary cap space around the league– has made an NBA superstar available for pennies on the dollar.

Adding Iverson to the mix would scare even the Lakers. His career averages are 27.1 PPG and 6.2 assists. Those are NOT misprints. His back is against the wall and he has precious few more chances to win a title. Can you imagine AI coming off the bench to terrorize second-team units. He and Davis can also thrive side-by-side when sharpshooting Eric Gordon rests. Who would Derek Fisher guard? And the duo is possible because Davis is one of the few point guards big and strong enough to take on the twos and allow Iverson to guard the points.

AI’s rep. has taken a hit as of late, but much of it has nothing to do with AI and his ability, and much to do with Chauncey  doing so well in Denver while Detroit imploded. Joe Dumars knew it was a bad mix, but he wanted AI’s 20 million dollar expiring contract. Iverson was a sacrificial lamb in Detroit’s reload. He is still a great player, for the right team.

A positive-thinking team would jump at this opportunity. Are the Clippers too deep in losing to realize they could be an instant contender?

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