Allen Iverson also known as the answer a 6-foot point guard slash shooting guard who dominated the NBA in the early 2000s with his skill talent and heart Iverson was an 11-time all-star a four-time scoring champion he made seven all-nba teams and he led the league in steals three times he was a first-ballot hall-of-famer and is one of the all-time scoring leaders of NBA history with all that being said Iverson was a quite polarizing character and not just during his career not just with his off the field antics or with his media controversies it’s actually his legacy that’s quite polarizing to NBA fans as we reflect on his NBA career you see Iverson’s career and numbers have many NBA fans very divided about just how good he actually was some fans will swear by the fact that Iverson was the most dominant little guard they’ve ever seen while a large number of other NBA fans will claim.
He was simply an overrated and inefficient stat stuffing chucker the point of this video will be to see where Iverson actually lies we’re gonna take a look at his numbers and some of the narratives about him and put those into context and by the end of this video we’ll see where Iverson ranks among the greatest guards of the NBA’s rich history Allen Iverson played 14 seasons in the NBA up until he was 34 years old and in those 14 seasons he averaged 26 points 7 points 6.2 assists 3 points 7 rebounds 2.2 steals odd 42.5 percent shooting he managed these numbers with his terrific and all-time great ball handling his solid footwork his mean crossover dribble his smooth jumper and because of his willingness to attack the basket continuously even on nights when plenty of contact and physical punishment was being dealt to him Iverson wasn’t the greatest on-ball defender which he himself has admitted but he was fantastic in the passing lanes and managed to pull in plenty of steals throughout his career.
Allen Iverson also a greater passer in NBA
He was also a greater passer and distributor that he often gets credit for yes it’s no secret that Iverson’s preference was clear to shoot the basketball but he had great court vision and managed to make solid passes and get tons of assists considering the amount of shots per game he was taking on Iverson’s career he shot twenty one point eight shots per game an average six point two assists per game his twenty one point eight shots is the fourth highest shots per game average in NBA history of the top ten players with the highest shots per game average of all time only one player averaged more assists per game over his career than Allen Iverson which was Jerry West among these players are legends like Michael Jordan Pistol Pete Maravich and Rick Barry and Iverson averaged more assists per game than all of them but clearly the biggest and most talked about aspect of Iverson’s career was his scoring so let’s dig into that he has the seventh highest career scoring average in NBA history at twenty six point seven points per game among guards specifically that’s the third highest career scoring average of all time he accomplished the seventh highest points per game average in NBA history as a 6-foot guard a player of Iverson size or smaller who has the closest career points per game average is the five nine Isiah Thomas who averaged about 18 points per game and is ranked 100 on the all-time list that means Iverson is 93 spots ahead of the closest player on the list of his size or smaller this is why many call Iverson the greatest pound-for-pound player in NBA history because even as a very small man by NBA standards.
He Dominated much bigger and Stronger NBA Superstars
He dominated NBA superstars much bigger and stronger than him sure small guys like Isiah Thomas averaged over 25 points per game for a single season but Iverson did it for over a decade’s worth of basketball the answer was one of only eight players in NBA history to average at least 25 points per game in 10 consecutive seasons that’s a feat scoring legends like Kobe Bryant Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird never even accomplished the other 7 players who accomplished the feat for Michael Jordan Jerry West Shaquille O’Neal called him alone Dominique Wilkins Kevin Durant and LeBron James needless to say that’s some legendary company and Iverson is by far the smallest player in that group of scoring legends now I know what many of you are thinking and this is the greatest criticism of Iverson’s career everyone acknowledges that he scored a ton of points but many will discredit him as a scorer and scream of his perceived inefficiency Iverson indeed shot forty two point five percent from the field in his career as far as scoring guards go his forty two point five percent is much lower than Jordans forty nine point seven percent and a bit lower than Kobe’s forty four point seven percent in fact out of the top 20 players in NBA history with the highest points per game average Iverson has the lowest field goal percentage of that group obviously with these facts you can’t possibly try to argue that Iverson was one of the more efficient scorers of NBA history but with that being said context is needed to understand why the inefficiency narrative is blown far at a proportion in the case of Allen Iverson.
He was a Small Guard Good in Inside and Outside Scoring
First of all Allen Iverson was a small guard meaning he was a perimeter player guards naturally play more from the outside and take more shots from a greater distance so naturally and typically a guards field goal percentage is lower than a forwards and much lower than a center’s to compare the field goal percentage of Iverson to Shaquille O’Neal or Kareem abdul-jabbar would be stupid don’t do that they clearly play much different positions on the court which naturally affect their percentages it makes much more sense and is much more fair to compare Iverson’s efficiency to other scoring guards sure Iverson still has a lower field goal percentage than Jordan Kobe Wade Steph Harden and Westbrook but at least they’re a lot more comparable now also field goal percentage is only one way of looking at a player’s efficiency true shooting percentage can give you a more complete picture while field goal percentage only factors a player’s efficiency and shots from the field true shooting percentage factors in their field goals their free-throws and their 3-point shooting this might surprise you but Iverson has a greater true shooting percentage than scoring legends like Isiah Thomas Elgin Baylor Pistol Pete Maravich and John Havlicek these are typically players who aren’t heavily criticized for their inefficiency but for some reason Iverson is even though he was technically more efficient than them sure small guards like Steph Curry and John Stockton. dwarfed Iverson when it comes to efficiency but his efficiency numbers are comparable to guys like Jerry West Elgin Baylor Isiah Thomas and Russell Westbrook also efficiency and a player’s field goal percentage has a lot to do with who he was playing with for example it’s no coincidence the Kevin Durant 3 most efficient field goal percentage seasons of his career happened to be the three seasons.
Allen Iverson played with the Warriors with Steph Curry and klay Thompson when you have other great offensive players on your team they naturally garner more attention which opens up the floor more and gives you more opportunities for cleaner looks this is a luxury that Iverson didn’t have in his playing days with the 76ers let me ask you a question who was the best offensive player that Iverson played with during his 76ers days Larry Hughes Eric snow a a young and developing Andre Iguodala everyone who is watching basketball in the early 2000s knows full well that Allen Iverson carried the 76ers offensively during those years and that defenses main goal every night against the 76ers was to put a stop to Allen Iverson he was also leaned upon so heavily offensively that Iverson led the league in minutes per game six out of the ten years he played for the 76ers naturally that lack of help scoring the ball the huge amount of minutes and the overall giant load offensively is going to affect your efficiency it wasn’t until Iverson 76ers days were over when he joined the Denver Nuggets that we finally got to see him play with star power helped offensively Carmelo Anthony was there to share some of that scoring load with Iverson and the result Iverson shot a much better 45 point six percent from the field those three years he played with the Nuggets that’s a field goal percentage that then exceeds Kobe Bryant’s efficiency hopefully this helps illustrates the importance of the supporting cast and a players overall efficiency although I’m certainly not putting Iverson on the Mount Rushmore of NBA efficiency but given the context I’m also not going to discredit him or claim that he was overrated based on his percentages any star player who played in those days will tell you how lethal AI was and how hard he was to stop a different aspect some people don’t realize is that AI was a player who consistently brought his a-game when it mattered most.
Allen Iverson is a Big game player and Clutch Performer
He was a big game player and a clutch performer it comes as no surprise that Michael Jordan has the highest points per game average in NBA playoff history but second isn’t Kobe Bryant it isn’t LeBron James Kevin Durant or Wilt Chamberlain the second greatest scorer in NBA playoff history was none other than Allen Iverson who scored an incredible twenty nine point seven points per game in his career for the playoffs among that playoff average were Gaines where he scored 50 plus points his back-to-back 40 point games to close out the talented Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals and of course his legendary 48 point game in the finals to defeat the previously undefeated Shaq and Kobe Los Angeles Lakers this is why this moment is so iconic because it perfectly sums up the legendary Allen Iverson even in an NBA Finals with a juggernaut Lakers looking for a perfect postseason run even they couldn’t stop a prime Iverson from stomping over them as far as how good Iverson was I think it’s clear from this video that I think Iverson was pretty dark good when you see the whole picture it’s hard to compare him to distributing point guards like Magic Johnson Isiah Thomas and John Stockton because they are just so different from Iverson but if you compare AI to shooting guards then I would say he’s the fourth greatest shooting guard of all time behind Jordan Kobe and wave and just slightly ahead of Clyde Drexler and Jerry West if you count him as a two guard let me know in the comments section where you think Allen Iverson ranks among the greatest guards of NBA history.