Tonight the Philadelphia 76ers are retiring Allen Iverson 's #3. It's hard not to predict that it was going to happen. Iverson, the first of that me-first generation of point guards who would rather shoot, came onto the scene as a much hyped rookie. Over his career he won many awards and took a rust bucket squad to the NBA Finals. I'll never forget his amazing performances as an individual, willing his team to victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the Finals in their gym. If I could I'd build a statue of him stepping over Ty Lue after hitting a jumper in front of the Lakers bench with Phil Jackson having a miscarriage on the bench whistling at the refs to do something.
Kid had swagg.
What he didn't have were many victories against the Utah Jazz. And, honestly, I can understand why. He had to play against John Stockton at the end of Stockton's career. And Stockton flat out gave everyone trouble. For the record, in 26 games against the Jazz Allen managed 27.8 ppg, 5.8 apg, 3.1 rpg, and 2.2 spg. Those are really good numbers when you throw out his 43 fg%, and the fact that in order to get it he had to play 41.2 mpg. He wasn't efficient, but what made him deadly is that he was really on the floor for almost all of the game.
This was the case in the 11 games he played against John Stockton. While John didn't really care about stats he did care about winning. And in these match-ups Stockton's team won 9-2. But if we're looking at the data, here it is:
Yeah, that's right, Stockton dropped 14 assists and 0 turn overs against him in their first game. Anyway, Stockton was more efficient (not shown, his PPS was 1.37, Allen's was 1.11, which is below the 20+ year league average of 1.21), Iverson was higher volume. Allen played 80 more minutes than John, and scored 147 more points. By the same token, John had 44 more assists, 1 more steal, 1 less rebound, and 1 more block -- in 80 fewer minutes.
Iverson was starting his career and Stockton was ending his. If you like fantasy stats and scoring you think Iverson won (he did have a huge 45 point game that really bumps up his averages). I'm not really going head over heels for scoring 272 points off of 245 shots though. John did more things, in less time, and did it more efficiently. Allen won points, but John won FG%, assists, assist-to-turnover ratio, and steals.
And, again, he was 9-2 in head to head competition.
Congrats Allen. You were a heck of a player when you honored your contracts that you signed with half of the teams you played for in your career. You took a really bad team to the NBA Finals. And you sold a lot of shoes and jerseys. You just weren't a better guard than John Stockton was. The history books show it to be true. And in head to head you got your points, but John got his team the win.