Monday, September 26, 2005

30 Reasons to Get Fired up For the 2005-06 NBA Season - #17

The Plight of AI and C-Webb

This is supposed to be the City of Brotherly Love, right? Then why is it that Philly’s biggest stars seem to get on each other’s nerves worse than Mike and Carol Seaver? The T.O./McNabb saga has been an on again, off again struggle surrounding the Eagles for over a year now. While they seem to have patched things up (at least for the time being), there’s another potentially devastating duo across the street looking to achieve a similar unity. Allen Iverson and Chris Webber approach the ‘05-06 season with one common goal: their first ever NBA championship. And while they both remain two of the league’s best at their respective positions, up until last year, neither had ever had to play second fiddle on any team, at any level. Asking NBA superstars, especially Iverson, to share the reigns of a team is never an easy task. But entering the 2005-06 season that’s just what these two players are going to have to do if they ever expect to bring home the hardware.

Question: isn’t winning a championship more important than leading the league in scoring or being an All-Star? While the answer may be an affirmative “yes” to us, it is up to both Webber and (more so) Iverson to figure this out for themselves. If not, the Sixers’ Playoff chances and aspirations may vanish faster than the B-12 vitamins from Miguel Tejada’s locker. Listen, I love Iverson, he’s my favorite player by far. The guy is 5-11, 175 soaking wet and plays like he’s 6-5, 220. One writer put it best labeling AI as “Tupac with a jumpshot”. The guy has the heart of a lion and perhaps the strongest will to win in the entire NBA. But it’s no secret that his ruthless attitude can sometimes make Emily Rose look like a de-clawed baby kitten. Iverson, a self-proclaimed thug, is who he is and does what he wants. If he wants to hang out at Houlihan’s all night, go home and beat up his wife, skip practice, and smoke weed at The Executive Apartments on City Line, that’s what he’s going to do. If he has to change for anyone, chances are that guy is going to see the AI middle finger. Why he can’t compromise and adapt to coaches, teammates, and authority is one of the great mysteries of the NBA. This is the Iverson we know and love but one that will most certainly retire without a ring if doesn’t attempt to change.

So if there is any time for Iverson to abandon this thug nature, even just for an 82 game season, that time is now. He needs to curb those 35+ shot nights and let the offense run through Webber as it did in Sactown. Face it, there isn’t a better passing big man in the league than C-Webb, but last season that player seemed to vanish during his 26-game stint as a Sixer. This year, Philly must get him the ball in post or at the free-throw line and let the offense flow from the inside out, rather than the other way around. This should create a multi-dimensional offense, one giving Iverson more lanes to drive, Korver more three’s to bury, and Dalembert and Hunter all the dunks they need. It will also give a guy like Andre Iguodala a chance to open up his offensive game and become the backcourt compliment Iverson so desperately needs. A team featuring this type of offensive prowess is good for 100+ a night, guaranteed. Remember those Kings teams from a few seasons ago that seemed unstoppable until they ran into the Lakers? Well I’d argue that the pieces they had in Sacramento during those few years are inferior to what the Sixers own today. But that’s only if the offense flows through Webber, and with Iverson on board, that’s a very big if.

The fact is that when the offense consistently flows through Iverson, the Sixers become a very one-dimensional team. We saw this first hand against the Pistons in the first round of the ’05 Playoffs. That squad was constantly trying to run, out of control, firing up ill-advised 3’s, thus giving up countless transition hoops and becoming lackadaisical on D. Teams like that don’t win, never have, never will. Rather, ball clubs that run through passing big men (ala San Antonio), tend to be more patient on offense and get mostly everyone involved. This is exactly the type of game plan Mo Cheeks needs to establish in his first season as Sixers’ coach. The main reason GM Billy King hired Cheeks is due to his reputation as a players’ coach, a man able to get Iverson believing he doesn’t need to do it all himself and that an offense running through Webber might be more beneficial. While that job won’t be easy for Mo, much of the Sixers’ success still remains in the hands of both Iverson and Webber. T.O. and McNabb put aside their differences to get the Eagles all the way to the Super Bowl a season ago. Now it’s up to the duo across the street to do the same.


At 9:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That first picture is hilarious. It looks like they're singing a duet.

At 10:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

um, chris webber chose to play 2nd fiddle in the 4th quarter of every big game the last 5 years. i really don't think it's gonna be an issue.


At 8:50 AM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

What's not going to be an issue? The article's focus was that Iverson should be willing to let the offense run through Webber. So the fact that Webber shits the 4th quarter bed would mean it would create an issue. DUMBASS


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