Tonight was a night that you knew was going to be a special one for Allen Iverson of the Denver Nuggets facing his old team, the Philadelphia 76ers for the second time since being traded. Now, the Allen Iverson we remember from the 76ers was a Larry Brown coached team that would run Iverson off a maze of screens to get open for the jumper, primarily a 3-pointer.

Starting last season, the Denver Nuggets under coach George Karl decided to go with the Walberg offense and while the Nuggets had mixed results with the offense it wasn't until they acquired Iverson when the offense really has looked fantastic. In my opinion, the dribble drive motion, or AASAA, was made for a player like Allen Iverson. And it's not the 10-second over-dribbling version of Iverson, it's the pure speed of Iverson that makes the dribble drive offense and Iverson so compatible. Watch the video clip I made that combines highlights of the Iverson in his 76er days with today's 38-point outburst,

In my opinion, the Warriors and Nuggets are so similar in their offenses that when I watched them last week the clips I took could've been interchanged for each other. The major difference being that the Warriors use the kick out 3-pointer much more, while the Nuggets rely on Iverson to drive and score a lot more. The only difference between the NBA version of the dribble drive and the college or HS versions is that I've seen the Nuggets isolate Carmelo Anthony on 1v1 post-ups, the Warriors do the same with Steven Jackson. In this way, both Iverson and Anthony have been able to co-exist with both giving up a little of their offensive production.

I won't bore you with diagrams with the 1v1. If I were to take over a team with an Allen Iverson or Derrick Rose, the PG 1v1 drive and score would probably account for at least 75% of the plays. Here are a few plays that I think act as great counters as teams try to defend you M2M.

Drive and Dump:

When you have a great penetrating guard like Iverson, the defense must respect his ability to breakdown his defender 1v1 and bring help. This allows a great finisher like Melo to get the easy dump off pass from Iverson.

Fake the Ball-screen:

In the dribble drive, you don't need ball-screens. Iverson especially doesn't need a ball-screen. But what this does is it creates so many opportunities to exploit a defenses indecision. I have an excellent clip of this, just didn't include it above. Kenyon Martin (K-Mart) comes to pretend to set the pick, this freezes the defense. Then he does a quick change of direction and cuts hard to the basket. Iverson lobs it for an alley-oop dunk.

Skip pass, Attack, Kick-out"

This is the traditional dribble drive look. You skip it from one side (in this case, out of a double team on Melo). You attack the basket with Iverson, then you kick it out for the 3-pointer.


The Nuggets are in the top 5 in the league in scoring, and lead the league in FTA at 31. The dribble drive and Allen Iverson have been the perfect fit. And the Nuggets are even playing decent M2M defense to boot.

I hear from HS coaches all the time that want to implement the offense. First off, I think you need to have the right personnel. If you don't have guards that are extremely quick and can break down defenders 1v1 off the dribble, this offense is not for you. If you don't have shooters that can hit shots, this offense is not for you. And be real honest with evaluating the skills of your players, don't go with a system because you see it on Sportscenter or on this blog. Implement something that fits the strengths of your players. Case in point, look at Pepperdine. They are 5-10 right now and probably won't have a winning record to end the year (they were 8-23 last season). It certainly isn't the case that Walberg can't coach his own system, it's simply been a matter of not having the players that fit the dribble drive well (though his 08 recruits fit the bill). I know this, because one of the players from last year's team that I'm acquaintances with decided to transfer to Cal-Northridge at the end of the season.

For a relatively new video on perimeter play improvement, take a look at Jason Shay's DVD on 33 Perimeter drills. Coach Shay's is an assistant with the University of Tennessee men's team. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to talk about this and your favorite basketball topics.