It’s always darkest before the Dawn.
Fresh off the drafting of False Messiah, Jerry Stackhouse, and a wretched 18 win season that would earn them the 1st pick, SuperNova gaurd Allen Iverson, in the Star Cradle 1996 Draft. A Draft that would feature 9 All Stars, 7 All NBA selections, and 4 likely Hall of Famers (Iverson, Bryant, Ray Allen, and Steve Nash) in the first 17 picks. Plus Marcus Camby and Kerry Kittles as condiments.
Here is the traditional “urban” photo of the draft class, sans a napping Iverson.
Here is the first of approximately 875,322 head explosions that would occur during Pat Croce’s tenure as Sixers President, jump to the 3:00 minute mark…
And in harbinger of posse’s to come, here is AI joyously hugging 500 people after his selection…
A love affair between a City and a Star was consummated. The rookie/sophomore backcourt of Iverson and Stackhouse would light it up, averaging over 44pts on 36 shots, and 15.5 Free throw attempts per game.
Alas, these two prodigal scorers, under the tutelage of overmatched players coach Johnny Davis, didn’t produce many wins. a lowly 22 wins, barely more than last season’s 18, and 2 less than 24 games won by the Shawn Bradley Sixers of 1994-95. The problem was defense, or rather the absence of it, with the Sixers surrendering 107pts per game.
But the season clearly demonstrated the transcendent scoring talent of the young Iverson. Just the 2nd game of AI’s career. Going toe to toe with current NBA President-Pro-Tempore Grant Hill. Here, in nasty, Grant Hill Drinks Sprite, pre-injury form.
Here is Iverson setting the rookie record with 4 consecutive 40 point performance, breaking Wilt Chamberlains record of 3 in a row. Here is the 4th, dropping 50 (first of 11 times he breaks that threshold) against the Cavs..
Now here is the filth, a carnage of broken ankles in this rookie year crossover mix.
Foreshadowing things to come, Here is Iverson going off against the Lakers for 31 and 11.
In spite of the poor record, the primeval Iverson would win Rookie of the Year honors, though Coach Davis failure to channel this protean talent would cost him his job after 1 season.
The Iverson Age had dawned but remained incomplete. A new chapter loomed…