Moments after news broke about Allen Iverson parting ways with the Grizzlies, Donnie Walsh admitted that the Knicks would explore signing the Answer to help their hopeless crew. It sounds like something out of an Isiah Thomas fever dream, which makes sense because this Knicks team looks as bad or worse than any that Thomas put together. That's sad, but it's even sadder that the Knicks actally need Iverson to even make a show of competing on the court this season.
He'll play hard, something that Mike D'Antoni can't seem to convince his current crop of players to do on a regular basis. He's been a bit of a malcontent the last couple of seasons, but a lot of that had to do with his role as a bench player. That won't happen in New York, not with Chris Duhon steaming toward unanimous selection as the worst guard in the NBA.
He'll also try to take the ball to the rim now and again, which will probably make some Garden regulars faint from shock. No, he doesn't get there as often as he did in the good old days but he gets there more often than anyone on D'Antoni's crew of guys who are only too happy to settle for a contested jump shot. And while he'll take a lot of shots, he still averaged more assists than anyone on the Knicks is mustering right now and should probably provide Danilo Gallinari with quite a few open looks from three if he can attck the lane.
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On some teams there might be concern about Iverson's distaste for practice and what that might impart to the younger Knicks. D'Antoni's teams don't have epic sessions, though, and it's hard to see where Iverson would limit the growth potential of Toney Douglas or Gallinari. In fact, Douglas seems like a good fit for the role Eric Snow played beside Iverson when the Sixers went to the NBA Finals. At any rate, he's not going to stunt their devolpment any more than Al Harrington or Larry Hughes so it's kind of a moot point.
Right now the big hopes for the Knicks getting better on the court are moving Jared Jeffries into the starting lineup for Wilson Chandler while banking on comeback attempt umpteen from Eddy Curry. If you've watched the Knicks the last few years, you know that doesn't add up to wins. Passing on Iverson in the offseason made sense because they could sell better things to come, but now it's hard to see the Knicks winning 20 games without a serious boost in talent.
There are a couple of other ways Iverson makes sense. Iverson would provide some excitement to a Garden scene that might get real ugly as people stop coming just to boo the increasingly pathetic product the Knicks provide. Iverson won't make them a playoff team, but he will make them more watchable. And Iverson is represented by Leon Rose, whose other big client goes by the name of LeBron James. It remains a pipe dream, but it's our pipe dream and we're sticking to it.
That's pretty sad this deep into Walsh and D'Antoni's tenure, but it's true. The fact that Iverson, a proud player who doesn't have many years left, would actually come to New York instead of swallowing a bench role on a team with hope is equally sad. Things don't have to be happy to make sense, though, and an Iverson-Knicks marriage fits the criteria.