As long as I can remember, Detroit Pistons guard Allen Iverson has been known as "The Answer." Sure, Iverson leads Detroit in scoring and assists. But when I look at Detroit's recent performances with AI on the injured list and consider his stint in Denver, I have to wonder if Iverson is indeed "The Answer."
With Iverson out of the lineup, Detroit scored back-to-back upset road wins over two of the league's best teams -- Orlando and Boston. The team appears to be re-energized with Rip Hamilton back in the starting lineup.
While I'm not talking about a large sample size here, it is still difficult to ignore the fact that Detroit is just 23-29 with Iverson and now 6-0 without him this season -- 4-0 to start the season and now 2-0 with him sidelined. The Nuggets didn't get better with Iverson and ultimately decided they needed to trade him in order to gain ground in the highly competitive Western Conference.
To his credit, Iverson has been on his best behavior in Detroit. He hasn't been a distraction and he hasn't dominated the ball as much as we're used to seeing. But his style of play hasn't meshed well with his Detroit teammates.
Iverson's style of play is to try to beat his man and anyone else standing in his path to the basket. This style leads to circus shots and passes while hanging in mid-air or flying out of bounds. Iverson's style leads to his teammates playing more static basketball, which is not the typical Detroit style that has led them to six straight Eastern Conference Finals.
With Iverson out and Rip Hamilton back in the starting lineup, Detroit got back to playing their brand of basketball and voila! Two very impressive road wins resulted.
Looks to me like Allen Iverson is no longer "The Answer."