Missing Shots: Where Allen Iverson is an All-Time Great

Allen Iverson was overrated. The story that originally shed light on the Wages of Wins was about this. When it comes down to it, Allen Iverson had no place being considered an All-Star, All-NBA or MVP caliber player. This is especially true when we consider his contemporaries at the guard position from the same draft were much much better (Steve Nash, Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant)

In looking over Allen Iverson’s stats, there is one area he was amazing: misses. Allen Iverson managed to put up six seasons where he missed more than a thousand shots. It turns out missing a thousand shots in one season is no easy task. Since the 1946-1947 season it has only happened 57 times. Having more than one season with a thousand misses is even more impressive. Here’s a breakdown of that.

Players with multiple seasons of more than 1000 misses.

Player 1000+ Miss Seasons Time frame
Wilt Chamberlain 6 1959-1965
Allen Iverson 6 1999-2006
Elgin Baylor 5 1959-1965
Elvin Hayes 4 1968-1972
John Havlicek 3 1968-1972
Bob Love 3 1971-1974
Dominique Wilkins 3 1984-1988
Michael Jordan 3 1987-1998
Rick Barry 2 1967-1975
Antoine Walker 2 2000-2002
Kobe Bryant 2 2002-2006

It might seem like this list is a dubious honor. Missing a thousand shots doesn’t seem like a good thing. Of course, there’s an out. It’s fine to miss a thousand shots if you make enough to compensate. Let’s prune our list a little. What if we ask for players that have missed a thousand shots multiple seasons and couldn’t maintain a TS% of 50% or better. If a player can generate a point at least 50% of every possession they spend, then their massive shooting might be forgiven. Here’s the same list with those requirements.

Players with Multiple Seasons of 1000+ Misses and a True Shooting % < 0.50

Player 1000+ Miss Seasons Time Frame
Elgin Baylor 4 1959-1965
Elvin Hayes 4 1968-1972
Bob Love 3 1971-1974
Allen Iverson 3 1999-2003

Allen Iverson drops a bit on the list but we get far much more exclusive. Something else should stand out. In the 1979-1980 season the NBA introduced the three point line. In this time frame there have been some players that have missed a lot of shots (A.I, Dominique Wilkins, Air Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Antoine Walker) but all of these players — with the exclusion of A.I — were able to shoot efficiently*. As such, Allen Iverson is the only player since the inception of the three point line to shoot as poorly and as often as he did for multiple seasons. It’s hard to consider an all-time great when you break down his stats. However, if you look at the right stats, he can make the same lists as some other all-time greats.


 *Antoine Walker had two seasons with a thousand misses. He was able to get above 50% true shooting in 2000-2001, he did shoot poorly in 2001-2002

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