Many of you may already know this, but I do not like Allen Iverson, with his historically one-on-one mastery, running the point. He is a creator. And like many creators from the history books before him, he is always near the top of the turnover leaders in the league. Does this diminish his contribution to the team? Absolutely not, but what it takes to be a creator in the game of basketball is not always synonymous with what it takes to be a great point guard.
A true point guard will always bring the ball down the floor and, unless he has an obvious exploitable mismatch, will immediately snap out the first pass of the offensive set and continue to carry out the rest his duties. This may include setting a screen, curling off a screen, flaring out of the paint after a short cut to position himself for an entry to a post player, or directing traffic to most advantageously put his team in a position to score.
Now, with all that being said, can Allen Iverson do this? The Answer, pardon the pun, is an emphatic “yes!” But is that what the Nuggets need him to do? My answer to that is an emphatic “no!” The Nuggets need Iverson to be on the receiving end of the ball and not distributing it. They need AI on the wing, curling off of double screens set by the bigs, stopping and popping, shaking and baking, and dribble penetrating the paint while slicing through defenses like a bird in the wind because Iverson is at his best when passing off to a man that is freed from a defensively rotating opponent after he leaves his man standing as if their feet were in concrete.
The difference, Nuggets Nation is point guards distribute to create, and therefore are not creators. Allen Iverson creates distribution and therein lies the pivotal difference.
So, what do I suggest the Nuggets do?
I suggest the Nuggets start veteran Mike Wilks at point guard and keep Allen Iverson free from having to do too much too early and see how it works. Forget about starting Yakhouba Diawara at shooting guard. Such a move will only slow the team down offensively because he doesn’t move very well off the ball and his shot selection is still in need of a little contextual work. The Yak averaged 4.4 points a game last season while shooting 28% from behind the three-point line with a combined 31.5% from the field in total. Statistically not becoming of a starting shooting guard in this league with the point being he is not ready to start in the backcourt for a team with as high of expectations as the Nuggets. It’s too much pressure for the second year player, and with so much seasoning in a guy like Wilks, why not just save ‘Khouba for defensive purposes? That is where he is going to be able to help this team the most, and in the game of NBA chess… Trying to use a rook for the job of a knight is surely going to leave you with your king wide open.