Iverson Revisited

To return to the Allen Iverson discussion from the other day, the point was not to deny that the 2007-2008 Denver Nuggets are better than the 2007-2008 Philadelphia 76ers. The point, rather, was that if Iverson was as good as many people say he is, the Iverson-Miller swap should have made Denver much better than it was before the trade while Philly should have gotten much worse. After all, if Iverson is really much better than Miller, then swapping them should have that kind of impact. But you didn't see that kind of impact. Because Iverson's not genuinely much better than Miller.

People like to bring up the 2001 76ers in this regard. After all, they had Iverson and not much in the way of offense besides Iverson, and not withstanding that they had playoff success in a weak East. But Iverson & co. actually put up exactly what you'd expect -- a mediocre offensive effort that ranked, in efficiency terms, 13th out of 29. What made them viable was excellent defense -- 5th out of 29. After all, besides Iverson they had Dikembe Mutombo, someone who's still capable today at the age of 9 million of helping to anchor a first-rate defense.

And, yes, I think Carmelo Anthony is somewhat overrated, too. But the larger point is just that you keep hearing from Denver fans that the team is "underperforming" and has "so much talent." The reality is that Denver's better than most teams, and the reason it's not better than it is is that the talent's not quite as good as many people think.