Allen Iverson averaged 19.0 points per 40 minutes last season – something only 21 other players 6'-5" and under managed. However, only 3 of those players accomplished the feat while managing a lower points per shot than Inverson's 1.193 (and one of them was Rashad McCants). As he has been known to be throughout his career, Iverson continues to be a volume scorer/shooter. One thing to note: That number was quite a drop from his previous 2 season's of work, when he nearly set a career high in 06-07 (1.302) and then did set the mark in 07-08 (1.391). The point being – maybe his situation in Detroit contributed to his declining numbers a bit and it was not entirely an erosion of ability due to advancing age. For a team in need of scoring, The Answer might still be a possible (short-term) solution.
Which brings us to the Bobcats. When it comes to shooting guards (or overall team offense – CLT was 27th in offensive efficiency last season), few teams match the Bobcats' lack of scoring punch. Of the guards who played at least some SG for the Cats last year, only D.J. Augustin surpassed A.I.'s number (D.J. at 1.369). Raja Bell managed a 1.158, Cartier Martin a 1.117, Raymond at 1.073, and the rest are no longer Bobcats (technically Raymond is not confirmed for next season, but the expectation remains the Cats resign him). So, despite an only so-so season for Iverson, he still managed to out-perform all but one of the current Bobcats in both volume and efficiency.
Though Larry Brown has said previously that he believes Iverson would be better served by joining a team that can contend for a title, the names of interested suitors that I am aware of remains Memphis, Miami, and Charlotte. With a young shooting guard on the rise in O.J. Mayo (and nearly no shot at the playoffs), I wonder what the Grizzlies' thinking is: Ticket sales? Likewise in Miami, Iverson's position is taken – Dwyane Wade can handle the role of scorer/distributor more than competently. Charlotte is the one who lacks a volume scorer (or at least is perceived to be lacking someone for that role).
The Bobcats best points per shot mark (of anyone playing more than 200 minutes) belonged to Gerald Wallace at 1.457 (15th best in the league for players above 16 points per 40 minutes), then Emeka at 1.405 (22nd), D.J. 1.369 (33rd) and Boris at 1.197. That is it – Iverson would be the fifth most efficient scorer for the Bobcats. The difference being that Iverson was scoring more frequently – for the season, he scored 24.9 points per 100 team possessions, Gerald and D.J. were both about 2 points per less, 22.7 and 22.9 respectively. Important note: Those are pace independent stats, as we are looking at points per 100 possessions – I just want to make sure no one assumes the discrepancy comes from the Bobcats slow pace.
Are those 2 points per 100 possessions worth the financial and chemistry risks the Bobcats would be taking? Tough to answer – but Iverson does represent an interesting option for the Bobcats to consider. Another consideration: Defense. Known as a gambler (for steals – not the poker kind like MJ), would AI be a detriment to the Bobcats' significantly improved defense from this past season? I have got Iverson's numbers for your consideration.
Iverson has some interesting numbers – his opponents' per minutes stats are all down, but their PER against him was significantly better than (over 1 point difference) expected. That improvement was due almost entirely to their improved shooting percentages when facing The Answer. 4.2% better from the field with a 2.8% increase in true shooting percentage. On top of that, it seemed teams were going after Iverson, as opponents averaged a half point more per 100 team possessions than expected, with most of that increase coming in his brief time at SG. Does Iverson need to have a bigger guard on the court beside him, to handle some of the defensive burden? Maybe, but considering the job Raymond did at the 2 this year, that may be possible for the Bobcats to handle (see Ray's Season Review for a refresher).
With all that said, I still do not have a firm answer to the question, "Do you want the Answer on the Bobcats?" At the very least, I am intrigued. With that I will close, and below are the rest of the standard numbers I provide when looking at a player's performance. Look them over and then let me know if you want to see Iverson in Bobcats blue and orange next season.