Chris Webber’s introduction to the Philadelphia starting lineup hasn’t quite been seemless, though the NY Post’s Peter Vescey think he has it figured out.
What’s the primary problem, aside from Webber feeling the pressure to produce large for his eager new team and its euphoric fans? Why is his field-goal percentage sinking? How did his shot selection become so sickening after starting out so well in the first quarter as a Sixer (two straight conversions on open springers) against his former team?
Don’t blame the calendar for Webber’s 4-18 defective display (10 points and eight rebounds) at home against the Nets, the night after winning in Milwaukee. That would be both a mistake and copout, committed by many, from what I’m reading and hearing.
The Kings were involved in 11 back-to-backs this season; Webber played on the second night in all but one, averaging 19.8 points and 10 boards in 36 minutes, everyday numbers for him. No, the schedule is far from being the source of Webber’s difficulty.
From where I’m zooming in by remote it’s “simply” a matter of conflicting styles ” C-Note’s half-court methodology vs. The Answer’s fast break, run’n’stun tactics ” or as “complicated” if you’re the one swallowed up in the fervor and frustration of failing to strut your normal stuff.
In other words, both Sixer stars are used to dominating the ball and need to have it to be entirely effective; thus the adjustment period. At the same time, notice how seamlessly Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce have meshed. All that background music they played together is paying off. Which is why I’m skeptical of Danny Ainge’s decision to recall Gary Payton and jeopardize the Celtics’ winning formula.
Iverson is accustomed to dribbling around the court for as much or as little of the 24-second clock as he wants until an opportunity opens up for himself, he finds a big man underneath or kicks it outside for a 3-pointer.
For the first time in his career, A.I. is blessed with a tall teammate (though a healthy Derrick Coleman wasn’t half bad) with heightened peripheral vision, arguably the NBA’s paramount passing big man renowned for manufacturing painless baskets out of primitive screen-and-cuts.
For the first time ever A.I. is cursed with a co-star. It’s not lost on any of us that Iverson’s greatness is being A.I.; an obligation to complement a sidekick is a whole new scary ball game. Goin’ halves with the ball is the team’s solitary salvation, not to mention Webber’s only thoroughfare to recovery.
After all, as cunning as C-Note is it’s tough finding Iverson with a slick bounce pass (a la Mike Bibby) unless permitted first to fondle the rock. Nor will his forced shots begin to subside until A.I. becomes cognizant of getting Webber the ball in his sweet spot and recognizes how to get it to him in rhythm.