You can say with confidence that some players throughout NBA history benefited from playing in a particular era. The different play styles and trends really impact the game and how individuals can perform or showcase their skills. But with some players, you can say for certain that they could have played in any era of the NBA and dominated just the same, if not even more. One of the guys that fall into that category is definitely Allen Iverson.
His psychical nature was far from the most imposing in the league, standing at 6’0” and 165 lbs. But what AI lacked in height and weight, he compensated with an unmatched skill on the court and fire to compete against anybody. An array of moves, crossovers, and fakes combined with the quickness made him a matchup nightmare and highlight machine. The fans loved it, as his style of play would match his flashy off-court personality, making him a true icon of the 2000s.
The best part of AI’s game was his scoring ability, as he averaged some ridiculous numbers in a time when the offense wasn’t as potent or emphasized as today. So it’s only natural and valid to ask the question of how much Iverson could have averaged if he played in today’s era. That’s precisely what Shannon Sharpe asked him on his “Club Shay Shay” podcast, as “The Answer” shared his answer and the reasoning behind it:
“People always ask me this and this sounds so arrogant, but it’s true. The way they play now, and it’s so wide open, definitely more than my highest average. Most I averaged in a season was like 33. And I lost the scoring title that year to The Mamba…Definitely more than my highest average. It’s too wide open. With the floor spaced out like it is now, it would’ve been harder to double-team me like they was.”Allen Iverson, Club Shay Shay
It’s hard to argue Iverson’s point, as he was averaging 30+ points per game in numerous seasons during a time when defense was still a thing. So with the fast-paced, offense-oriented style, “The Answer” would get all the opportunities in the world to dance and get more shots than ever. It would be a real spectacle to watch, as AI’s highlight reel would be even more impressive than it is now. In the particular 2005-2006 season, Iverson mentioned, he averaged 33.0 ppg only to get beat out by Kobe’s 35.4 ppg. It’s scary to imagine how prolific these two scorers in their prime would have been in today’s NBA. True bucket getters.