Allen Iverson is easily one of the most underrated guards, if not players, in the history of the NBA. Oh, and trust me, we’re not going to be talking about practice.
At 6’0″ and 165 pounds, Iverson still was able to play the shooting guard position as well as the point guard exceptionally well, averaging 26.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 2.2 steals at a 42% clip over the span of his career.
While Iverson’s shooting wasn’t the spotlight of his success, his playmaking ability was almost unmatched and he is arguably one of the best scoring guards in the history of the NBA.
In his fifth season in the NBA, Iverson took a team consisting of a 35-year-old Dikembe Mutombo, Theo Ratliff, and Aaron McKie to the NBA Finals. Iverson was the only player on that team to average more than 13 points per game. While his assist numbers weren’t all that great, who was he supposed to pass the ball too?
Iverson carried this team to a record of 56-26, which was good enough for 1st in the Eastern Conference, and tied for second in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers behind the San Antonio Spurs by only 2 games.
Allen Iverson is nicknamed “The Answer” for a reason. In the first round, the 76ers beat the 8th seeded Pacers in a 5 game series, who were led by Jermaine O’Neal and Jalen Rose.
In the second round, the Sixers went to 7 against a solid Raptors team with recognizable names like Vince Carter, Mussgy Bogues (who was very underrated), Dell Curry, Mark Jackson, and Charles Oakley.
In the semifinals, Philly went to another 7-game-series, this time against a Milwaukee Bucks team who lacked a superstar but had a lot of talented players such as Ray Allen, Sam Cassell, Jerome Kersey, Michael Redd, and Glenn Robinson.
Even though the 76ers would ultimately lose to the Kobe and Shaq duo in the NBA Finals in 5 games, (that hadn’t lost a playoff game beforehand), the way that Allen Iverson led his team to the NBA Finals with little experience is one of the most underrated feats in the history of the NBA.
Iverson averaged 32.9 points per game in those series, 6.1 assists, and 4.7 rebounds, (keep in mind he was only 6’0″ and had Dikembe Mutombo on his team), and 2.4 steals.
Also, in Allen’s famous interview where he was famously quoted about practice, it was out of context. He was trying to prove a point that of everything that was happening at the time, the reporters brought up questions about basketball practice.