When he was an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs, the 76ers were often a team that Brett Brown had to scout. The main focus of his report for many years was how to stop Allen Iverson. Brown is now running the show here in Philly and Iverson will announce his retirement here tomorrow afternoon. We asked Brown today of his thoughts on Iverson.
“Philadelphia was my scout team for years,” Brown said. “He was amongst the hardest people you had to scheme to guard because he could do it in so many ways. He is a great scorer, a great competitor. I think my most vivid memory of him was at the All-Star Game and I had the good fortune of coaching in two All-Star Games with Pop [Gregg Popovich] and our staff. You go into a room and there’s 24 of the best players in the world in a small room. I had my son with me and I look over and I see A.I. over in a corner and I can’t believe, physically he’s small, small waist, strong and cut, but small relative to all of the other great players. I’m looking at him and to do what he did on a night-to-night basis and play with that toughness and get hit and fall down and get back up and have that fierce competitor in him with really a smaller type of body. He amazes me. That is one fierce competitor. For him to have the career that he had here in Philadelphia, I know the city is proud of him and what he’s accomplished. Having to guard him was a really, really hard assignment for the Spurs and scheming against him was very difficult, if not impossible.”
Asked to give a scouting report on how to guard Iverson, Brown said:
“You had to guard him as a team. I had to put size on him with Bruce Bowen. Apples for apples, he could rise up and you couldn’t get to his shot so we opted to space him a little bit and put length on him with Bruce Bowen and show a real crowd around him where he wasn’t able to dance and rise up. You had to maybe be there and crowd his space, take away his space know that there was a wall behind him [with big men]. Guarding him with anybody less than a full team, you had your hands full every night. He had big games against the Spurs and we were always among the top defensive teams in the league. At times we couldn’t get it done.”