Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Too Much Dribble?

It doesn’t surprise me that we’re hearing rumors that Chris Webber is unhappy playing with Allen Iverson. And it doesn’t shock me that C-Webb is now telling the world that the rumor is nothing more than a lie. We’ve become accustomed to this type of stuff coming from and swirling around these two guys…and I would’ve been amazed if the rumors hadn’t started this off season.

The rumor that the New York Daily News reported over the weekend was that C-Webb had told several of his closest friends that he couldn’t play with AI because Iverson “dribbles too much.” Was he lying about telling his boys this? I doubt it very much. The Daily News story also said that Webber said he would take less money to get out of Philadelphia and away from Mr. Dribble Happy.

Now C-Webb is telling us that the only person he’s frustrated with is himself, because his body isn’t performing for him like it used to – join the club dude. His chronic knee pain and propensity for injuries (he’s never been healthy for a full season in his twelve year NBA career) have slowed him down a bunch over the last several years, but are those really the reasons that his stats fell drastically after being traded from Sacramento to Philadelphia late in the season? I don’t think so. I think the fact that he was in a new place factored into it. But the biggest factor is that he didn’t get as many shots, and didn’t get as many ‘good looks’ or ‘easy buckets’ like he got with the Kings.

Back on the Left Coast C-Webb would get about 6 easy points a game when his All-Star point guard Mike Bibby would penetrate the lane and take two or three defenders and then drop a soft pass to Webber who would either lay it in or slam it down. He rarely got those easy buckets in Philadelphia, because the only guy that consistently pierces defenses is Allen Iverson – and when AI drives, he’s looking to score. Why wouldn’t he? He’s one of the best scoring guards of the last twenty-five years and he’s never played with big men that can do damage on the interior like Webber.

We’ve heard the same type of frustrations from plenty of Iverson’s teammates over the years. He drove Jerry Stackhouse and Larry Hughes out of town because they couldn’t work together. There have been others too, because Iverson does just what Webber was rumored to have said – he dribbles too much. And he shoots a whole bunch too. Playing with a guy like that can make you aggravated or it can lull you into a coma. You need a special type of player (ala Scottie Pippen) to be the second fiddle to someone that takes the majority of the shots and has the ball in his hands the majority of the time. If Webber can be that guy maybe this will work.

The 76ers are going to have to make sure that this duo works. They traded away a young stud in Kenny Thomas and I’d be astonished if any other teams would be interested in an injury-prone 32-year old power forward who’s owed $63 million over the next three years. C-Webb has missed a total of 251 of his teams games in his first eleven seasons (not including last year)…the guy is NEVER healthy.

Iverson and Webber are going to have to play together and get along. And Chris needs to give them more than the 15.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg and 3.1 apg that he did last season. The man has average almost 22 points per game over his career – he needs to get at least 18 points a game next season.

It will be interesting for sure…but I don’t see this thing working out for either party and the Sixer fans will most likely be caught watching another decent team struggle.


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