The Sixers close their season when they visit the Magic, who will finish with the league’s worst record.
Philadelphia will miss the playoffs for the first time since 1998 after a season filled with injury and controversy. Iverson was a big part of both.
The star guard has played in just 48 games this season, including just three of the last 18. He hasn’t played since March 20, and the Sixers are 5-6 since then.
But even when Iverson was healthy there was trouble. He was unhappy when Randy Ayers was fired and Chris Ford took over as coach, and the two clashed almost from the start.
Iverson has not been traveling with the team and even stopped sitting on the bench during home games. Even before Monday’s 107-93 loss to Indiana in their home finale, Iverson’s locker had been cleaned out.
Other injuries cost the Sixers. They have been playing without frontcourt starters Glenn Robinson and Derrick Coleman, and their losses along with the absence of Iverson have forced Philadelphia to play down the stretch with an inexperienced team that has trouble scoring.
Things have gone so poorly this season that the 76ers may consider unloading some veterans and rebuilding around the younger players. If that is the case— and especially if they have grown tired of Iverson’s antics—one of the NBA’s most exciting players could be involved in trade talk this summer.
“There are a lot of things that have gone on this year that haven’t been up to par,” Sixers president Billy King said. “There are things that will be changed. There are some things that have been very distracting, very disappointing and they will be dealt with.”
King did indicate Tuesday, however, that Iverson wanted to remain in Philadelphia.
“He said he wants to be a part of it,” King said of Iverson. `He’s been here when it was bad, when it was good, to now when we’re not in the playoffs. He says he loves it and doesn’t expect to see himself ever playing for another team.”
Orlando’s season was over before it ever really got started. The Magic won their season opener, then lost 19 straight. Along the way coach Doc Rivers was fired and replaced by Johnny Davis.
The end of the season also has been miserable, as Orlando lost 13 in a row before Monday’s 93-84 victory at Chicago. Most of the Magic’s recent difficulties have been because of the absence of McGrady, who was placed on the injured list at the end of March because of knee tendinitis.
The good news for Orlando is that the poor finish has helped its chances of landing the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. Because they will have the worst record, the Magic will have the best chance of winning the draft lottery to determine the top overall pick.
Philadelphia is just 7-22 in Orlando. Its .241 winning percentage there is its worst against any opponent.