Iverson to the Grizzlies: AI stands for “already irritated”

Allen Iverson is signing with the Memphis Grizzlies for what is expected to be a one-year deal worth $3.5 million.

This move (along with the trade for Zach Randolph) is questionable at best for the well-being of the young Memphis Grizzlies, who have a stable of promising young players that will probably be weighed down by the presence of these two historically selfish players.

Don't let the smile fool you - Iverson is set to suffocate the fantasy value of an entire team. (Flickr/Keith Allison)

Don't let the smile fool you - Iverson is set to suffocate the fantasy value of an entire team. (Flickr/Keith Allison)

While much can be said about this interesting signing, we’ll table that for now and get right down to the fantasy impact.

  • For Iverson, this move cements his spot in the realm of fantasy mediocrity. He’ll most likely be backing up the point guard position, which means he won’t get anywhere close to the 36:30 he played each game in Detroit last season. Expect him to put up decent stats once every couple weeks, but the Answer is no longer that for any fantasy squad. His name still holds weight but don’t think of him as anything more than a guard to fill out the bottom of your bench in most fantasy leagues. It’ll be surprising if AI can put up more than 14/2/3.5 and a steal per game. The key here is that Iverson will have to live with fewer minutes and touches, which is a growing shadow of bad things to come for him and the team. As Geoff Calkins at the Memphis Commercial Appeal writes:
    “Iverson was unhappy backing up Rip Hamilton in Detroit, understand. The man would be unhappy sharing minutes with God. If you think he’s going to merrily sit on the bench behind Conley and O.J. Mayo as the Grizzlies lose another 50 games, I have an Iverson workout video I’d like to sell you.”
    Which brings us to our next two bullet points…

  • With Iverson set to backup (read: steal minutes from) Mike Conley at the point guard spot, don’t expect any uptick in the third-year player’s stats this season. This is a shame, since Conley had a real shot at becoming a more consistent, productive point guard for fantasy squads this season. It should be considered a success if Conley can maintain his minutes and production from last season.
  • O.J. Mayo, who had a stellar rookie year in 2008-09, was set to be an under-the-radar fantasy stud this season. He played 38:06 per game last year and averaged 18.5/3.8/3.2 along with 1.8 threes and 1.1 steals per outing. Since Iverson will inevitably play some minutes at the two-guard spot, Mayo’s heavy minutes are now under threat to either remain the same or even dip a bit, which could mean the same for his production. He’s still worthy of a spot on your roster, but keep your expectations in check.
  • For the rest of the Grizzlies’ relevant fantasy players (Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol), Iverson’s presence means less touches and shots, which doesn’t bode well for their values.

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