Reunited and it Feels so Hood

iverson1219Sports with Bob McFlurry

So the Answer is coming back to Philadelphia.  When I wrote the Iverson article last week I didn’t really think the Sixers would ever re-sign him given the acrimonious split in late 2006.  It’s the kind of homecoming you hope for as a true Philadelphia sports fan.  The situation reminds me of how Jeremiah Trotter and Hugh Douglas came back for the Eagles Super Bowl run in 2004. Hopefully Iverson is more Trotter than Douglas in terms of production.

It’s kind of bittersweet though in that I’m not really sure the addition of Iverson puts the Sixers in any real contention to win the Eastern Conference but stranger things have happened.  At this point, with Speights and Lou Williams gone for an extended period it can only help more than hurt.

So I’m not a real big sports radio listener and I choose not to listen to it especially when a big headline will dominate the airwaves for the next couple days as in Iverson, Vick etc. However, with the verbal jabs I’ve heard from colleagues and commentators about what kind of player and of what caliber person they perceive Iverson to be I do get somewhat miffed.

1) Iverson is not a team player:

Well if you hear any of his teammates talk about Allen Iverson I have never heard anything bad come out of anyone’s mouth.  Yes he clashed with coaches, yes he missed practice, yes he got into some situations which weren’t exactly kosher but if you think he had anything on his mind but winning when he’s on the court then you’re crazy.  If not being a team player is taking all the shots then I’ll refer you to the bullet point below.

2) Iverson the Ball Hog:

For much of Iverson’s Philly career the plan from Larry Brown was for Allen to take most of the shots.  Dart to the rim and get fouled. Allen takes the shots, they live on the foul line and the rest of the team plays great defense while allowing Iverson to expend his energy on the offensive end.  Who was going to take the shots? Eric Snow?

We never got him a complementary player, maybe because he didn’t want to share the scoring or any marquee player was afraid he wasn’t going to give up the ball but during his years in Philadelphia I ask you, who would you rather have shoot the ball?

3) He’s not a winner:

It’s true, Allen Iverson couldn’t win it by himself.  It’s also true he didn’t have a whole lot of help. Everyone slurps Jordan but he had players Iverson never had.  The Answer never had a Scottie Pippen.  Iverson only played concurrently with two All Stars, Theo Ratliff the year he got hurt and Dikembe Mutumbo, neither of which were known for scoring.

For every team that worked out a great trade or drafted a player that helped win a Championship, Iverson was given has been’s and never will be’s.  Chris Webber, Tyrone Hill, Jumaine Jones, Tim Thomas, Derrick Coleman, Larry Hughes, Toni Kukoc, Kieth Van Horne, Matt Harpring. Webber was playing on one leg and we paid him 36 million to not play, Coleman would have been a great 3rd option, Kukoc was 25 lbs overweight by the time he got to Philly and every guy we drafted we traded away or didn’t make an impact.

Granted it’s hard for a rookie to grow in a system predicated on getting the star player 30 shots a game but does anyone think if we got a legit second scoring option and still had the defensive players in place that Iverson wouldn’t go deep in the playoffs every year? (note: the unsung hero of the 2001 season in George Lynch who was never the same player after breaking his foot in the playoffs that year).

So we have Iverson back, if he scores 19 or 90 it’s good for the city, good for attendance and good for the fans who love the guy.  You can make insinuations about why they brought him back or that he takes time away from the young guys but the young guys aren’t exactly doing much right now.

If anything I hope the guy (and he does) realizes what a special place he has in this city and how coming back for his farewell tour is the kind of reunion only seen in Hollywood movies. To bring it all back where it started, to cap off a Hall of Fame career in front of the fans that made him a household name is something that most Philadelphia Superstars either never wanted to or never could do.  (Besides Dick Allen).

At the very least, I’m interested in Sixers Basketball again if only just to see one of it’s greatest players make one more playoff push.  It should be interesting.

Who will be the Sixers Color Commentator in 2009-2010?

Sports with Bob McFlurry

In case you didn’t know Bob Salmi is out as the color commentator fo rhe 76ers after only one season.  I’ve got nothing against Bob Salmi, he’s great on Sixers Post Game Live but just didn’t mesh as well as the Sixers management had hoped.  Previous to the 2008-2009 season Steve Mix’s contract was not renewed and he was subsequently replaced by Salmi.

I’m here making an impassioned plee to please get Steve Mix back in front of a microphone and teaming with Zumoff.  Zumoff is at his best when paired with Mix.  There was a noticable lack of cohesion this year and bringing back Mix would solve that problem immediately.  They really effortlessly play off of each other and you can genuinely tell they like and respect each other.

I know Mix can be somewhat critical of the Sixers and officiating sometimes but you must take the good wiht the bad.  I’m fine with him bashing the Sixer s a little, I do it all the time when I’m watching them.  If they are playing sloppy or a player is continuing to make dumb plays mix calls them out on it.  Maybe not what the Sixers want but I like to hear an honest voice in the broadcast booth.

It would be as dumb as signing Sam Dalembert to a contract extension if they did not regain Mix as their voice of reason in the booth.

Samuel Dalembert: It’s time to go chief!

Sports With Bob McFlurry

I’ll admit I was excited when I first saw Sam Dalembert’s athleticism on the court early in his career.  He reminded me of Theo Ratliff a little bit they way he went after blocks.  I thought this guy could be really good, he’s raw, give him a couple of years to mature and develop and he could be a force in the middle for the Sixers.

Flash forward to 2009, I can’t stand when Dalembert is on the court.  I’m not sure why he’s starting other than the fact that he’s making 10.5 million dollars this year.  He has two years remaining on his contract which tops out at 12 million in 2010/2011.  Dude is making double digit million dollars a year to go out on a basketball court and suck (thanks Billy King).

Yes he blocks some shots, yes he does some rebounding, yes he’s one of the better defending centers in the Eastern Conference but he’s an offensive liability, refuses to learn from mistakes or what teammates tell him to do and is constantly in foul trouble.

This is a guy who got summarily dismissed from Team Canada’s Olympic Basketball team.  I couldn’t find another guy on Team Canada’s roster who I had even heard of and they booted Dalembert, one of the two NBA players who expressed interest in playing for them.

The coach of that team was quoted to say this about the Dalembert dismissal, : “Everybody who’s here now wants to be here and wants to be a part of this team. If that’s not your agenda you’re not here.”.  There really wasnt any further explanation from the coach but I’m thinking Dalembert’s head was just not in the game much like about 90% of the games he plays for the Sixers.

This season he continued to lose minutes to Theo Ratliff, Reggie Evans and rookie Marreese Speights averaging 24mpg.  It seems Sammy wants to be to involved in the offense when it’s clearly not his strong suit. Every time I see him take a 15 foot jumper I cringe. The guy should be averaging 15 boards, 8-10 trash points on accident and 3 blocks a game.  That’s what he needs to do, rebound, block shots and defend.

It’s time for this experiment to end.  We need a real center.  Unfortunately this is not Team Canada and we cannot just fire him, we’re stuck with him for two more years and his salary and play will make it hard to move him.  Can we give him 10 million to go away?

Sam Dalembert Regular Season Stats:

2001–02 Philadelphia 34 0 5.2 .440 .000 .389 2.0 .1 .2 .4 1.5
2003–04 Philadelphia 82 53 26.8 .541 .000 .644 7.6 .3 .5 2.3 8.0
2004–05 Philadelphia 72 60 24.8 .524 .000 .601 7.5 .5 .6 1.7 8.2
2005–06 Philadelphia 66 52 26.7 .531 .000 .705 8.2 .4 .5 2.4 7.3
2006–07 Philadelphia 82 82 30.9 .541 .000 .746 8.9 .8 .6 1.9 10.7
2007–08 Philadelphia 82 82 33.2 .513 .000 .707 10.4 .5 .5 2.3 10.5
2008–09 Philadelphia 82 82 24.8 .498 .000 .734 8.5 .2 .4 1.8 6.4
Career 500 411 26.4 .524 .000 .688 8.1 .4 .5 1.9 8.1