- The Washington Times - Monday, December 18, 2006

Great players are efficient players, and Allen Iverson is neither.

Iverson is second in the league in scoring (31.2 points a game) and 10th in assists (7.3). But he leads the league in shot attempts (24.4) and turnovers (4.4).

Today is Day 12 in the Philadelphia 76ers’ attempt to trade Iverson within 48 hours of his trade demand. The Sixers have been trying to weigh the good and bad with respect to Iverson for 11 seasons.

For most of that time, Iverson has displayed disdain for coaches (Larry Brown, Randy Ayers, Chris Ford, Jim O’Brien, Maurice Cheeks), teammates (Jerry Stackhouse, Larry Hughes, Chris Webber) and practice.

Iverson hasn’t been blessed with the best coaches or teammates, but he hasn’t exactly handled those situations with aplomb either.

With disrespect for authority and team rules, Iverson has fashioned himself as an iconoclast. This is a major undertaking, considering he is 31 years old and his career on-court earnings will surpass $100 million this season.

That’s pretty much the textbook definition of a sellout, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But there is something wrong with Iverson the player. He is a singular talent, but he has failed in using that talent efficiently.

Iverson has led the league in scoring four times, never shooting better than 42.4 percent in the process.

But almost any player who finished second, third, fourth or fifth in those seasons would have done the same given the same number of shots, the same offensive latitude.

Great scorers, efficient scorers don’t need 24 shots to score 31 points.

Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Yao Ming, Michael Redd, Joe Johnson and Dwyane Wade have been more efficient scorers than Iverson this season.

Great ball-handlers, great decision-makers don’t commit four turnovers for every seven assists.

Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Andre Miller, Deron Williams, Baron Davis, Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul, T.J. Ford, Brevin Knight, Mo Williams, Wade, Jarrett Jack, Jamaal Tinsley, Kirk Hinrich, Luke Ridnour, Tony Parker, Eric Snow, Sam Cassell, LeBron James, Tracy McGrady, Mike Bibby, Raymond Felton, Shaun Livingston, Chris Duhon and Jason Terry all have been better decision makers this season.

Great players, franchise players win without great teammates around them. Iverson has led the 76ers to 50 wins once — in an inferior conference.

Among players who finished in the top five in MVP voting during Iverson’s career, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, Bryant, Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, Billups, Peja Stojakovic, Kidd, Webber, Alonzo Mourning, Gary Payton, Tim Hardaway and Glen Rice all led their teams to at least two 50-win seasons.

Iverson is not a great player, but he is a great talent who needs to improve his shot selection and dribbling condition.

The Denver Nuggets, without Anthony for the next 15 games, are trying to trade for Iverson. Nuggets coach George Karl is just talented and crazy enough to teach Iverson a few things.

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