Over the past few days, I've been getting the feeling that Allen Iverson fever is sweeping Charlotte Bobcats fandom. To wit, a friend in Charlotte went on a bit of a rant via AIM today:
AnonUser: as much as i hate iverson, i think hed be good for a year or so before he
AnonUser: a: gets depressed and whiny
AnonUser: b: decides he can do better somewhere else
AnonUser: although statistically, hes done best under larry
AnonUser: even though he was younger
deadteddy8: i totally agree. if he's cheap, then im totally on board.
And there's the rub. If he's cheap, I'm totally on board, and if he costs us real assets, if we have to give up something in order to accommodate him, then I'd be far less enthusiastic about the dawning of the Allen Iverson Era in Charlotte.
All that said, imagine Iverson does come to Charlotte. There would be three major implications:
1 -- Suddenly, the Charlotte Bobcats are relevant to a chunk of the sports public that, previously, had no reason to care. Iverson is a pillar of the NBA, and that's not changing just because he's no longer the AI of 2001. There is now a discernible chance you will see someone wearing a Bobcats jersey on national TV even though that person has no connection to the Bobcats.
2 -- The on-court product this year will be a mishmash of frenetic styles. On offense: Iverson's reckless dashes through the lane and swagger outside. DJ Augustin's smooth stroke from the arc and Devin Harris-esque drives to the rim. Boris Diaw standing tall on the elbow, calculating the possibilities of various passes through the defense. Tyson Chandler's lanky frame waiting for putbacks on the block. And, of course, Gerald Wallace providing the Joker-like chaotic element that spices the whole stew; he drives, he shoots, he blocks shots, he flops for charges, and nobody really knows what he'll do next. On defense, Iverson is the right kind of role model for Augustin, and Chandler's presence behind them makes it slightly more okay to go with that small a back court. And all that's before considering the character of the bench. If Larry Brown has learned anything over the years, here's hoping he remains hardcore about establishing to the players that his core basketball principles are still sound, but that they are free to be themselves under the umbrella of those principles.
3 -- My gut feeling is this makes a sale of the team more likely. Robert Johnson has lots of reasons to remain owner of the Bobcats, but he doesn't have the bottom line in his favor. The next person to own the franchise will have to install a new management team in order to be confident that the financial situation will get better. Even just a tiny nudge from Iverson's star power could be the bump necessary to convince George Postolos or another buyer that they can capitalize on that momentum and build toward profitability.