NBA insider says Allen Iverson would be heavily criticized in today’s NBA due to his inefficient shot-chucking

Jesse Cinquini
4 Min Read
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst thinks that if former Philadelphia 76ers star Allen Iverson played in the NBA today, folks would criticize him for his tendency to take a high volume of shots on poor efficiency.


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“If A.I. played today, he would be heavily criticized…because he was a low-efficiency player,” said Windhorst. “… If you go look at the way he played, he played a lot of minutes and just chucked a lot of shots. And if 41 percent of them went in, it was considered a good job. That would not fly in today’s game. You look at [Joel] Embiid. Embiid was averaging 35 points before he got hurt on 22 shots in 33 minutes. That’s unbelievable. It’s one of the greatest efficiency seasons of all time. The year that A.I. won the MVP, he averaged 26 shots for 31 points.”

Iverson averaged a whopping 22.9 field-goal attempts per game on 42.1 percent shooting from the field across 722 total regular-season games with the 76ers franchise.

For comparison, Joel Embiid, who is averaging 35.3 points per game in the 2023-24 regular season, is averaging nearly the same number of shots that Iverson did during his Sixers career at 22.2 per game, but he is scoring the ball at a much more efficient rate at 53.3 percent. Iverson never shot better than 46.1 percent from the field in any of his 12 seasons in Philadelphia.

Despite Iverson’s scoring inefficiency, he boasts one of the more impressive resumes in NBA history from a scoring standpoint. He led the entire league in points per game four times, all as a member of the 76ers. Iverson averaged a career-high 33.0 points per game during the 2005-06 regular season.

Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kevin Durant, George Gervin and Iverson are the only players in the history of the league with four or more scoring titles to their names. Jordan holds the most scoring titles of any NBA player by a sizable margin with 10, while Chamberlain owns the second-most with seven.

Iverson started and ended his NBA career as a member of the 76ers franchise. He appeared in 25 games with Philadelphia in the 2009-10 regular season and averaged 13.9 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 0.7 steals per game while shooting 41.7 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from deep.

While scoring efficiency is valued very highly in today’s NBA, it’s up for debate whether one of the better scorers ever to play in the NBA would be “heavily criticized” if he were currently playing in the league.

The fact that Iverson scored over 20,000 points in his NBA career and led the NBA in points per game in four separate seasons arguably more than made up for any inefficiency.

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Jesse is an aspiring sports journalist that has previously worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.