By Eric Neel
Page 2

Nine reasons I love the Allen Iverson trade:

1. Powder blue arm socks.

2. 371 points. I don't want to set the bar too high, and I know the fellas need to learn to play together and all that, but I'm just going to say this: The highest-scoring game in NBA history is Detroit's 186-184 triple-overtime win over the Nuggets on Dec. 13, 1983, and if the Anthony-Iverson-Smith Nuggets and Nash-Marion-Stoudemire Suns don't break that record three or four times in a seven-game playoff series come June I'm going to feel robbed. (Please note: before Iverson, Denver already was the second-highest scoring team in the league at 108.8 ppg, and according to our man John Hollinger, before Iverson the Nuggets already were the league's fastest-paced team.)

Carmelo and Allen
Kurt Snibbe

3. Iverson at elevation. The way he cuts and dives to the bucket? The way he pushes from circle to circle? The way he comes in waves? In thin air? If I'm George Karl, I order oxygen masks and tanks for the opposing team's bench on all home dates and dare fellas from out of town not to use them.

4. The "other guy" in the deal is Ivan McFarlin. This name is too good to be true. This is a name tailor-made for a trivia question. And we'll have to get a ruling from Mr. Simmons to be sure, but I believe Reggie Cleveland finally may have met his match.

5. Swagger. With the addition of Iverson, the Nuggets just became the streetest club on the block. In a Western Conference final four with Phoenix, Dallas, and San Antonio, Denver has the edge, literally. The Nuggets are, by turns, angry, inventive, dangerous, brave and tough as the junkyard dog on Iverson's bicep. The other elite teams in the West inspire admiration, but this crew, like John Thompson's Hoyas once upon a time, will also command respect and devotion. People are going to love this team (or hate it), fiercely. Watch the jersey sales skyrocket in the next few months. These guys are about to be the favorite team of any hoops fan who has ever felt like he was on the outside looking in.

6. Drama. Not since the Seattle SuperSonics of the early to mid-1990s has an NBA team had such potential to be great and such simultaneous potential to melt, China Syndrome-style, straight down to the earth's core. I'm watching every game from here on out with a bucket of popcorn and a box of red vines.

Allen Iverson
David Dow/Getty Images
How would you like to guard this guy … at altitude?

7. Mystery. The Sixers end up with three picks in the first round in a very deep draft next summer. They've also got some big-time cap relief coming in the next couple years (once the Chris Webber deal is done at the end of next season). Now you know Billy King is going to mess this up, but let me ask you this: Do you know how he's going to mess it up? Didn't think so. And therein lies the mystery.

8. Lab work. Even as we speak, Maurice Cheeks has a team of University of Pennsylvania scientists working out a formula that, taking into account minutes played, passing lanes used and calories expended, tells him exactly how much he can use Andre Miller and still be in a position to land Greg Oden. The techies are still tweaking the data, but early indications suggest Miller will be asked to carry Kevin Ollie's bags to and from the team bus and little else.

9. Allen's about to go off. In a good way. In a very good way. I hear people worrying about whether he'll share and sacrifice for the good of the team, and I hear people wonder whether the Nuggets are significantly better with him in the mix. I don't get it. Am I missing something? Isn't this a guy who gives himself up, body and soul, every time he suits up? Isn't this a guy who's been sitting on the shelf for three weeks, itching for the chance to show what he's got in the tank? Isn't this a guy who's going to feel reborn right about now, both by the chance to play with Carmelo and the chance to play games that matter? Isn't this a guy who's nearly impossible to defend? Isn't this a guy capable of six or seven assists a game? Isn't this a guy who knows what it is to play for a ring and also knows what it is to play without even a ghost of a chance of playing for a ring? I believe he is. I believe that's who this guy is. And that's why I love this deal from the bottom of my heart.

Eric Neel is a columnist for ESPN.com and Page 2. Sound off to Page 2 here.




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I LOVE THIS TRADE