Friday, August 23, 2013

Allen Iverson - Quitter

Sure, he stopped playing in the NBA three years ago, but still.........

His stats:

Iverson is a guy who is (and long has been) a bone of contention between people who use the "eyeball test" and people who concentrate on advanced statistical analysis.   Under the eyeball test, he is arguably one of the top 10 players in the past 20 years (league MVP, 11 time all-star, brought his team to the NBA Finals), but under the microscope of advanced statistical analysis, Iverson really suffers.

Iverson is regarded by many as a great offensive player.  He won 4 scoring titles.  His 26.67PPG career average ranks him behind only Michael, Wilt, LeBron, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West on the all-time list.  11 times he finished in the top 8 in the league in scoring. 

AI was a HUGE minutes guy.  Only Wilt, Russell and Oscar played more minutes per game.  The two biggest minute eaters who are active are LeBron and Durant, but both are very young, so their minutes will decline.  Joe Johnson and Kobe are huge minutes guys, but they have toiled 4 less minutes per game than AI.

Now, move over to PER and Win Shares, and Iverson looked pretty average.  He was in the top 10 in the league in PER only 3 times.  He was in the top 10 in Win Shares only three seasons (always 10th) and in the top 10 in Offensive Win Shares only once (finishing 8th in 2007-08).

In the history of the NBA, there have been 27 guys who have been 11+ times named to the All-Star Game.  On that list, Iverson ranks 25th in total Win Shares (ahead of Bob Cousy and Isiah Thomas) and 25th in Win Shares per 48 (ahead of Elvin Hayes and Isiah Thomas).

In the history of the NBA, there have only been 45 guys who have logged at least 37,000 minutes.
Iverson ranks 36th in total Win Shares and 34th in Win Shares Per 48.  He does rank 18th in career PER of these guys, above Paul Pierce and below Patrick Ewing.

Iverson shot 42% from the floor and 31% from 3.  His value as a player was primarily his ability to stay on the floor and his ability to always create an opportunity for himself and his teammates.

Of players with more than 10,000 NBA minutes, only 3 players have ever averaged more than 26 points and more than 6 assists a game -- Jerry West, LeBron James, and AI.  The scoring and assists stats of Larry Bird and Dwyane Wade do not match up to Iverson.  (For those wondering, as I was, where Chris Paul is - he doesn't even average 20 PPG for his career).

So what is our summary on Iverson?  Top 50 all-time player.  I am sorry, but you just cannot ignore the raw numbers.  11 AS appearances, 26-6, 4th most minutes played per game, decent defender, took a team to the Finals, MVP of the league.

Top 25 player?  I would say no.  So I would put him around the 37th best player in league history, which is certainly a great honor.

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