At the Sixers shoot around this morning at the Rose Garden in Portland, guard Willie Green watched from the sideline, resting his sprained right ankle that he suffered in Saturday night's loss in Utah.
Allen Iverson was on the floor with the team as they prepared for tonight's game against the 20-12 Trail Blazers. After the shoot around, coach Eddie Jordan called Iverson to the far end of the floor when the guard went through some step-slide drills, shot some jumpers coming off an imaginary screen set by assistant coach Mike O'Koren. All told, Iverson put in about 15 minutes extra work.
"Just trying to get my legs up under me and get my wind where I want it to be," said Iverson, who has missed the past four games with arthritis in his left knee. "It's going to take a while. I'm not going to be frustrated with myself. I'm just going to be patient and understand that I haven't had a lot of active work and it's going to take a little time."
Saturday in Utah, Jordan started Lou Williams for the first time since his return from a broken jaw. He started with Green at guard, while rookie Jrue Holiday came off the bench. If Green can't go tonight (he is a game-time decision), will Jordan plug in Iverson with Williams and keep Holiday coming off the bench, or will Iverson get limited minutes and come off the bench?
The rotation has been a mystery pretty much all season with Jordan. Injuries have played a part, no doubt, as Williams, Marreese Speights, Elton Brand and Iverson have all missed time. Jordan has never had his full contigent available since Iverson signed with the team. But even before the injuries and the return of Iverson, Jordan didn't seem comfortable with a night-in, night-out rotation.
The coach said today that he would like to stay with a 10-player rotation. So let's look into the future when everyone is healthy. Let's say the starters are Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young at forwards, Sam Dalembert at center and Iverson and Williams at guards.
Jordan loves the combo of Speights and Brand coming off the bench, though they provide good offense but not enough defense. Holiday will get the majority of the guard minutes off the bench. Green has been very consistent all year, so he'll be relied on also.
There will be times when Jason Kapono's sharp shooting will be needed, so he'll have to garner some minutes, and Rodney Carney's athleticism, which made him one of the better players on the team early in the season, will be needed also. Jason Smith will be just a mop-up player, maybe filling in for Dalembert when he gets in trouble, while Primoz Brezec and Royal Ivey will play sparingly.
That might be how it plays out, but again, with Jordan, who knows. If Iverson and Green are ready to go tonight, maybe some of the answers will start playing out.