Detroit Pistons general manager Joe Dumars said after last season he'd try to shake up the team's core, and he finally delivered this week when he traded for Allen Iverson.
The revamped Pistons, however, still haven't put their new look on display.
Four days after Detroit acquired him, Iverson expects to make his debut for the undefeated Pistons on Friday night when they visit the New Jersey Nets.
Two games into the season, the Pistons (4-0) pulled off a blockbuster trade on Monday that sent Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess and Cheikh Samb to Denver in exchange for Iverson, the 2000-01 MVP, a four-time scoring champ and a nine-time All-Star.
Detroit has played two games since then, but Iverson wasn't available for the first one and he was not allowed to play Wednesday because Billups had yet to complete his physical for the Nuggets. Iverson, who has taken his physical and completed the proper paperwork, is eager to get back on the court and expects to do so Friday.
"I'm just ready to go," he said before watching Detroit defeat Toronto 100-93 on Wednesday night. "Hopefully everything gets taken care of ... and I'll be able to get on the court with my team and try to learn these plays as fast as possible."
Though many of them were disappointed to see a pair of popular veterans like Billups and McDyess depart, Iverson's new teammates are excited about getting the NBA's active leader in scoring average (27.7) into the lineup.
"We know what type of player he is, we know he's a fierce competitor and that goes perfect with this team," center Rasheed Wallace said. "We're all about one thing, and that's making sure we play in June, and I think he still has that hunger in him to be playing in June."
As fun as it may be to think that far ahead, the Pistons know there may be some growing pains as Iverson adjusts to the new system.
"It's definitely going to be a work in progress," Iverson said. "I'd be lying if I said the chemistry will be there right off the top. (Coach Michael Curry) said the way they play is aggressive on offense and aggressive on defense. Obviously you know I can be aggressive on offense and just do the best I can on the other end of the court."
Curry, though, expects Iverson to settle in quickly.
"When you're that talented, and he's going to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, you can fit in with any team," he said.
Iverson has been held to 23.5 points and 37.0 percent shooting from the field in his last four games against the Nets, who had their own shooting problems in their last game.
New Jersey (1-2) shot 33.7 percent in a 114-86 loss to Phoenix on Tuesday night. Vince Carter was 7-for-14 from the field, while the other four Nets starters combined to go 12-for-37.
The Nets also struggled defensively, letting the Suns connect on 63.2 percent of their shots - the highest mark against New Jersey since Phoenix shot 63.9 percent on Nov. 27, 1999.
"They just got anything they wanted at any point and that made it tough for us," Nets forward Jarvis Hayes said.
Since their last win in the series March 26, 2006, the Nets have lost seven straight against the Pistons by an average of 14.0 points.
Snapping that skid could be a challenge against a Detroit team that's third in the league in scoring (104.5 points per game) and field-goal percentage (48.1). Tayshaun Prince led the way in Wednesday's win with 27 points on 10-for-13 shooting.
"Sometimes we've got to move Tay around with his minutes to make sure we take advantage of him and get him a lot of opportunities to be aggressive," Curry said of Prince, who had just 36 points through the first three games. "He was really good offensively and defensively tonight."
Stats at a Glance
|News | Players | Stats | Schedule||News | Players | Stats | Schedule|
|Tonight's Games||Time (ET)||Nat TV||Game Notes|
|New Orleans @ Charlotte||7:00 pm||NOH||CHA||Preview|
|New York @ Washington||7:00 pm||NYK||WAS||Preview|
|Toronto @ Atlanta||7:30 pm||TSN||TOR||ATL||Preview|
|Milwaukee @ Boston||7:30 pm||MIL||BOS||Preview|
|Indiana @ Cleveland||7:30 pm||IND||CLE||Preview|
|Detroit @ New Jersey||7:30 pm||DET||NJN||Preview|
|Miami @ San Antonio||8:00 pm||RTV ESPN||MIA||SAS||Preview|
|Phoenix @ Chicago||8:30 pm||PHX||CHI||Preview|
|Oklahoma City @ Utah||9:00 pm||OKC||UTA||Preview|
|Minnesota @ Sacramento||10:00 pm||MIN||SAC||Preview|
|Dallas @ Denver||10:30 pm||RTV ESPN||DAL||DEN||Preview|
|Memphis @ Golden State||10:30 pm||MEM||GSW||Preview|
|Houston @ L.A. Clippers||10:30 pm||HOU||LAC||Preview|
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|created: 11/06/2008 01:54 pm|