Train wreck warning: Sixers may bench Iverson


NBA_iverson_small.jpgUpdate 5:09: Looks like the show will be delayed, the Sixers organization just announced that Iverson will miss the next two games for the team (a back-to-back before the All-Star break in Minnesota tonight and Toronto tomorrow). He will be expected by the NBA to at least be around on All-Star weekend (remember, the league once fined Michael Jordan for missing a Friday event, they are serious about having everyone there so the corporate sponsors feel important). Please check back after the All-Star break to resume this crash.

12:20: Hey, pull up a chair and grab some popcorn — there’s a train wreck a comin’ and you can have a front row seat. Let us head to Philadelphia and talk Allen Iverson.

But after Monday’s practice, which Iverson again missed due to his daughter’s illness, (Sixers coach Eddie) Jordan wouldn’t commit to Iverson starting when he comes back.

“That’s a topic we have to discuss,” Jordan said.

Later, Jordan said, “We’re going to talk about that as a staff. We’ve had some of those discussions. We’ll cross that bridge when we cross that bridge.”

That bridge has more explosives under it than the one over the river Kwai. In Detroit last season and Memphis to start this one, Iverson destroyed locker room chemistry and became a big distraction when he didn’t start. He can’t fathom sitting behind a lesser player, and in his mind most players remain lesser. And he’s not going to be quiet about it.

Of course, Jordan is right, the Sixers are better when Iverson is out — they are 3-0 in this stretch without him, all against playoff teams. The new starting backcourt of Willie Green and rookie Jrue Holiday give the Sixers better defense, better size and guys working within the flow of the offense.

Iverson can still play in this league — in his last seven games he is averaging nearly 14 points but on a very Iversonesque, inefficient 40% shooting. Andre Iguodala has a couple more assists a game than Iverson. He remains a gunner. That is the kind of player that can be a big boost off the bench.

If said player will go to the bench. Iverson will not go quietly into that good night. So pull up a chair and enjoy the coming train wreck.

Tony Parker wants to play six more seasons with Spurs

Tony Parker
Leave a comment

Tony Parker revealed a plan nearly two years ago to play until he’s 38.

Coming off his worst season since his rookie year, the Spurs point guard is sticking to that goal.

Parker, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

“The Spurs know I want to play until I’m 38,” Parker told Yahoo Sports in a recent phone interview. “That will be 20 seasons for me. That’s my goal. This year is No. 15. And if I’m lucky enough and I’m healthy, hopefully I can play 20 seasons and then I’ll be ready to retire.”

That seems pretty ambitious, no matter how you handle the conflicting math. (Parker is 33. If he plays 20 seasons, he’ll spend most of his final season at age 39 and turn 40 during the playoffs.)

Parker is already showing signs of slippage. Many of his key numbers were down last season, including ESPN’s real-plus minus, where he quietly slipped from 12th to 67th among point guards.

But Gregg Popovich is very liberal with resting his players, and Parker won’t have to carry too much of the load. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will probably retire before Parker, but the Spurs will still have Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.

I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s possible Parker lasts that long.

Report: Pelicans signing Greg Smith

Greg Smith
Leave a comment

The Pelicans starting center, Omer Asik, is injured.

Their backup center, Alexis Ajinca, is injured.

Enter Greg Smith.

Scott Kushner of The Advocate:

Smith was part of the Rockets’ 2012-13 rotation, but otherwise, he has seen limited minutes in his four-year career with Houston and Dallas. In that small sample, he has looked alright. The 6-foot-10 24-year-old uses his big frame and massive hands to catch passes and finish efficiently near the rim. He has also become more disciplined defensively.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the regular-season roster behind the 13 Pelicans with guaranteed salaries.

But it’s also possible New Orleans signed him just an extra preseason body. That’d beat relying too heavily on the aging Kendrick Perkins and undersized Jeff Adrien at center. Anthony Davis is the Pelicans’ best option at center with Asik and Ajinca sidelined (and maybe even with them healthy), but the biggest drawback to playing him there is the injury risk. If Davis is going to deal with the banging at center, might as well save it for games that count.

Still, even New Orleans plans to keep Smith only through the preseason, this at least gives him a chance to impress.