Friday, February 12, 2016

Jordan and team get ready for return of AI

Allen Iverson is returning to the Sixers and should play Monday at home against the Nuggets

Jordan and team get ready for return of AI

Allen Iverson is back for another run with the Sixers. He´ll make his debut Monday night at the Wachovia Center. (Ron Cortes / Staff file photo)
Allen Iverson is back for another run with the Sixers. He'll make his debut Monday night at the Wachovia Center. (Ron Cortes / Staff file photo)

After this morning's shoot around at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, the main topic of conversation wasn't about tonight's opponent, the Thunder, but of course about the return of Allen Iverson. The team announced earlier in the day that the 10-time All-Star would be coming back to the team that he spent 10-plus seasons with and guided to the NBA Finals during his MVP season of 2001.

"We're looking at a couple options," said coach Eddie Jordan when asked about his rotation once Iverson is in uniform. "One of the options we're looking at is obviously, I would like him to start. I haven't talked to the team about it, but it's a thought process. When I make that decision I will talk to the team first and then will tell you guys. I'm really looking to see if he can fit into our starting lineup, but it's not etched in stone."

It would be hard to imagine Iverson not starting come Monday, particularly after his disdain of sitting on the bench led to his parting with the Memphis Grizzlies earlier this season. Add to that what the fan reaction might be when he is announced, it certainly would be a nice change to what has been a very quiet Wachovia Center.

"I would like to, without really seeing him on the floor, I would like to compare him to Brett Favre, a guy who people think is too old to play, and he's almost having an MVP year. I think he could be that."

More coverage
Sixerville: Snider says A.I. has opportunity to shine
Deep Sixer: Iverson's here; now what?
Deep Sixer: Iverson Q&A with Kate Fagan
A.I.'s top Philly moments
Sixerville: Jordan, players get ready for Iverson
Buy: Special Iverson reprint
Special section: Remembering the 2000-01 Sixers

Jordan's Princeton offense will no doubt have to take a back seat now with Iverson being implemented into the lineup, but Jordan said Iverson knows the gist of the offense and that it shouldn't be a problem, with the help of teammates who are more familiar with the read-and-react system.

"I have confidence in my abilities to teach how to catch the ball and go iso (isolation)," Jordan kidded. "Isolation is part of our offense. I feel good. When I talked with him, he knows what we do. I'd like for him to know the minimum part of it."

It appears that Iverson won't be joining the team on this road trip for practices. After tonight's game, the Sixers travel to Charlotte for a game Saturday night. Presumably, they will practice on Sunday with a shoot around on Monday before the Denver game.

Both Willie Green and Andre Iguodala, who were teammates with Iverson during his first stint with the club, said  today they had talked to Iverson recently and are confident and excited to have him come back to the team.

"I'm excited about it," said Green, "I actually talked to Allen on the phone a little bit (Tuesday night) and he's excited about it. I think the fans in Philly are excited. We look forward to it."

Said Iguodala: "I talked to him the other day, we had a phone conversation. We've been keeping in touch. I've been good with it the whole time. I'm excited to get him back, get him on the court. The biggest thing is to try to get him in the rhythm with us and get things moving as quickly as possible."

Ironic that Iverson could be returning Monday to play against the Nuggets, as that's who the Sixers traded him to in 2006. The next game for the Sixers will be at home against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday. The Nuggets, of course, traded Iverson to Detroit in 2008.

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About this blog
Bob Cooney has been at the Daily News for more than 20 years, working in the sports department for the past 15. This is his third season on the Sixers beat. He has covered just about everything, but mostly college basketball, where he was the La Salle beat writer for six seasons. E-mail Bob at and follow him on Twitter.

Bob Cooney
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