I just stepped back in the house from a trip to D.C. and the first place I went was to ESPN.com to verify what I'd been texted earlier: Allen Iverson swapped places with Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess.
This confirms two things:
1) Joe Dumars realized that his version of the 90's Atlanta Braves weren't going to cut it.
2) Rodney Stuckey is about to take over the franchise.
The Piston Era as we knew it is over. Chauncey Billups was more associated with the success of the Pistons than anybody on the team. That's like when the Braves traded David Justice. When they did that, the heart of the team left. Even though the Braves went on to win eight more division titles, they were fixtures for early playoff departures because they didn't have any position players to, you know, show heart. There's no mistaking that the Pistons needed to make a change. Their recent stagnation in the playoffs exhbited their tendency to be a step slower and lackadaisical than the other teams (Miami, Cleveland, Boston). But acquiring A.I.?
That's a bold move for Detroit. This is not about Detroit acquiring a superstar to jolt the team. This is Detroit acquiring Allen Iverson; who is extremely skilled at filling up the box score but also a prodigious ballstopper. For Allen Iverson to be effective, he needs the ball in his hands for an inordinate amount of time. His assists tends to come in midst of double-teams than in the flow of the offense, as opposed to Chauncey Billups. Nobody has ever confused A.I. for a point guard, which is the position that he now is thrust into. In other words, Allen Iverson and his 27.7 point per game average is the anti-Piston.
That's why the Pistons as we know them have left the building. (The irony of this deal is that A.I. lands in the big D seven years after Larry Brown tried to ship him there. The only thing that stopped the deal is Matt Geiger refusing to pass on $5 million. Smart guy he was...what ever happened to good ol' Matt Geiger?)
But something tells me that Joe D isn't finished dealing. Just my penny.
Denver, meanwhile, gets the point guard it needs as well as a hometown star coming back. Denver gets a more than serviceable big man who comes back to the place where he started his career. Denver....gets better. Simply put, they got over on this trade.
Here is a nice piece by J.A. Adande on the deal, providing supporting details to my theory that Detroit winning that championship a few years ago was a fluke.