Allen Iverson is indeed the answer to the question of what went wrong with the Detroit Pistons.
Every person who has played a role in the Detroit Pistons recent high school drama was impacted, for the worse, by the former superstar. Joe Dumars deserves as much blame, if not more, than anyone. It was Dumars who snapped the spinal chord of the Pistons successful anatomy when trading Chauncey Billups for the malignancy that is Allen Iverson. That was the beginning of the end.
Dumars was responsible for the infection. It would be Iverson’s impact on teammates, especially Rip Hamilton, that would be the terminal blow to the Pistons of the early 2000s.
Iverson was the first player introduced into the Pistons revolutionary team model that was truly selfish. Even the oft-critcisized Rasheed Wallace was the ultimate team player. Iverson was not. Criticism of Flip Saunders certainly may have existed beneath the surface, but no one legitimized it like Iverson. No other player made it OK to piss and moan when they weren’t happy. Not on that Pistons team.
And it began. Iverson was unhappy about coming off the bench. He whined to the media, openly criticisizing the organization and Flip Saunders. The infection slowly began spreading. With the departure of Iverson and Wallace and the addition of young and new faces, the team’s core began to crumble.
And now you see the effects. The Pistons of the early 2000s, the team we knew and loved, now just a corpse withering its way into lottery frequency and irrelevance.
Rip Hamilton should be ashamed of himself. However horrible he feels the organization treated him, who really is going to sympathize with a guy making tens of millions to play basketball. He was beloved. As a matter of fact, fans stood by him when he was benched. Then, he made this team a laughingstock. I have no idea what the details of the “player protest” of practice last week are, but I guarantee Rip Hamilton played an integral role.
It’s really unfortunate to watch the last true epitome of a team left in the NBA die before your eyes. This easily could’ve been avoided by keeping the core together. Look at the Spurs for God sakes.
This is not John Kuester’s fault. Just horrendous timing and luck for him. This starts with Dumars and ends with Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace. And what is the common bond between all of them? They all came into contact with the Canswer himself, Allen Ezail Iverson.
May our former team rest in peace. It will be a long time, if ever, we see something like that again.
If you want to hear how I really feel about Allen Iverson, I suggest reading an old article I wrote for the Detroit Free Press about The Canswer by clicking here