First Impressions of the Iverson Trade

Posted on December 19, 2006 by


Marc Stein and Chris Sheridan of reported today that the Nuggets have acquired Allen Iverson. As of now the trade is Andre Miller, Joe Smith, and two first round draft picks for Iverson. Yesterday I thought that perhaps Billy King – Philadelphia’s president — was just keeping Iverson out of his line-up in an effort to increase the odds of his team landing Greg Oden. Today, I see I might have been wrong. Looking at what these players have done in their careers it looks like the 76ers are improved with the addition of Miller.

Iverson, as we noted in The Wages of Wins and in this forum, has been slightly below average for his career. Although the past two seasons he was above average, this year he was again slightly below average.

In contrast, Miller – with the exception of his one season with the Clippers – has always been well above average. So the 76ers have exchanged a guard that hovers around the average mark for a guard that has consistently ranked among the top players at his position.

Yes, that helps the team in the short-run. But the odds of getting Oden just got longer.

Okay, maybe that was not the game King was playing. Or maybe he didn’t know that Miller is a more productive player than Iverson. Or maybe I should stop speculating why King is doing what he is doing.

How exactly does this trade impact the 76ers? Miller comes in and probably takes many of the minutes of Iverson. I would also suspect that Smith allows the 76ers to play at the center and power forward spots a combination of Samuel Dalembert, Steven Hunter, Chris Webber, Smith, and Alan Henderson. In other words, the team going forward should stop playing players at the big men slots that are not big men, a problem I noted a few days ago.

At the small forward spot the team will should now use Kyle Korver and Andre Iguodala, with Rodney Carney seeing his minutes limited. Given how little Carney has contributed thus far, that will also be a positive development.

In the backcourt the team still has Willie Green and Kevin Ollie. Both of these players are very unproductive. But the addition of Miller does boost what this team is getting out of the guard positions.

Put it all together – as I have done HERE – and we see that this team could win half its games going forward. Now I am assuming that what these players have done so far this season will continue. And I am assuming that I can truly guess how the minutes will be allocated. But if both my assumptions are correct (and what are the odds an economist can get two assumptions right?), then the 76ers can expect to win about 30 more games. This gives the team a final record of 35-47, which should leave them out of the playoffs and with very few balls in the lottery hopper.

So is this a good move for the 76ers? I really liked my story that the team was positioning itself for Oden. It looks like that story has to be trashed.

In the short-run I do think this team is better. But in the long-run this team, as it is currently assembled, is not a contender for the title.

Tomorrow I will try and comment on what this trade means for the Nuggets.

– DJ