Wednesday , Dec , 20 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Iverson is not the answer for the Nuggets

(Sports Network) – The Denver Nuggets made a blockbuster move when they
acquired All-Star guard Allen Iverson and reserve Ivan McFarlin from the
Philadelphia 76ers for a pair of 2007 first-round draft picks, point guard
Andre Miller and forward Joe Smith.

Does Iverson put the Nuggets, who have been eliminated in the first round of
the playoffs three straight years, over the top?

A seven-time All-Star, Iverson, who is playing in his 11th season in the NBA,
was originally selected out of Georgetown by Philadelphia with the No. 1
overall pick in the 1996 draft. He averaged 31.2 points and 7.3 assists in 15
games for the Sixers this season.

The 31-year Iverson is an incredible talent, but he comes with a lot of
baggage. His practice habits and overall character have been questioned in the
past, while his ability has never been questioned. Iverson was the NBA’s MVP
in the 2000-01 campaign and the Sixers to the 2001 NBA Finals, where they fell
in five games to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Georgetown product loves to dominate the ball and will have to learn to
work with his new teammates, especially Carmelo Anthony, who is averaging a
league-best 31.6 points per game but is currently serving a 15-game suspension
for his role in the now infamous brawl which occurred in the fourth quarter of
Denver’s 123-100 win over the New York Knicks on December 16th at Madison
Square Garden.

Anthony and Iverson headline a solid roster for the Nuggets. Center Marcus
Camby is very athletic, plays tough defense and can score, while J.R. Smith,
who received a 10-game suspension for his participation in the melee at MSG,
has emerged since joining the Nuggets prior to the season and Earl Boykins,
Nene and Reggie Evans will be valuable role players.

Head coach George Karl has the right personality to deal with Iverson’s
antics. He will try and make it work with Anthony and Iverson, even though
there is only one ball on the court. Karl will do his best to get the rest of
his players to buy into the idea that Iverson makes the Nuggets a better

Anthony is definitely the best player that Iverson has been teamed with.
Philadelphia’s Chris Webber was past his prime when he arrived from
Sacramento, while Glenn Robinson and Keith Van Horn just didn’t work next to
the dynamic guard in Philly.

Will Iverson adjust his game to work with Anthony?

He is going to have to. Anthony, who was selected out of Syracuse by the
Nuggets with the third overall pick in the 2003 draft, is still the franchise
player. Anthony is just 22-years-old and is going to keep getting better,
while Iverson has been starting to deal with more injuries as he gets older
and endures more wear and tear on his body.

The Nuggets needed to make the deal for Iverson. Without Anthony and the way
the Utah Jazz have been playing, Denver was in serious trouble of falling into
a big hole. The Jazz are in first place in the Northwest Division and may have
run away with the division if Denver didn’t make the trade. At least now the
Nuggets have a great chance to stay in the race while the Syracuse product
serves his suspension.

It will be very exciting to watch Anthony and Iverson play together. Nuggets’
fans should be thrilled. But does this duo get the Nuggets past Dallas,
Phoenix or San Antonio in a best-of-seven series?

Sorry Nuggets’ fans. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and the Spurs are still a notch
ahead, while Phoenix and Dallas have too many weapons and still can outscore
the new-look Nuggets. The Suns’ Steve Nash, Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudemire
would love to run against Iverson and his new teammates, and the Mavericks’
Dirk Nowitzki, Josh Howard and Jason Terry have the experience of winning the
2005-06 Western Conference title.

Iverson makes the Nuggets a more exciting and dangerous squad. However, he is
an extremely skilled guard and the West is won down low in the postseason.
Anthony and his new teammate will be fun to watch, but it is not the right
combination to get Denver over the hump.