PHILADELPHIAWhen Kyle Korver first entered the NBA back in 2003 as a second-round draft pick from a small college in Nebraska, he joined a 76ers team led by superstar guard Allen Iverson. He appeared to initially struggle with the speed and athleticism of the game, but found his niche as a prolific spot-up shooter by his second season, and although he experienced four coaches in his four-plus seasons in the City of Brotherly Love, the sharpshooter was respected for his gradual all-around improvement and averaged a career-high 14.4 points per game in 2006-07, his fourth professional campaign.
Korver arrived in Philadelphia a couple years too late for the Sixers 2001 run to the NBA Finals, but he did get a taste of the playoffs in his second seasonlosing to current teammate Rip Hamiltons Pistons in 2005before getting traded to Utah early in the 2007-08 season. Another team removed from the Sixers now, Korver still reflects fondly on his tenure with his first team, though its a very different squad from the one he left, as only All-Star swingman Andre Iguodala and two youngsterscurrent reserve mainstays Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young, a second-year player out of high school and a rookie with only one college season under his belt, respectivelyremain.
Its always good to be back in Philly, Korver told CSNChicago.com before the Bulls Friday-morning shootaround at the Wells Fargo Center, an arena thats changed its name since Korvers stint in town. Your first team you play with for a few years, you assume youre going to be there forever, the rest of your career and then, the reality of the business sets infree agency, trades. But its good to be back here. Theres still a lot of good people in the Sixers organization, a lot of the same people who were here when I was here and its good to see everybody.
They were the young guys when I was here. Now, theyre the leaders and I think, obviously the team has grown. Theyve grown as playersAndres an All-Star this year, Lou Williams has grown into an unbelievable scorerthings that you saw they could be and theyre happening now. Theyre really good guys, theyre really hard workers, so Im happy for them.
Iguodala, known as a student of the gameparticularly on the defensive end, as some observers believe hes the NBAs top perimeter defenderassessed Korvers development since leaving Philadelphia in a positive light.
Hes had a lot more NBA experience. Being with him in Philly, he was a younger guy. Now, hes a little bit older, hes one of the vets, so hes seen a lot. Hes seen the different coverages teams are going to throw at him. Defensively, they say hes a liability throughout his career, so hes been able to see what teams throw at him on both ends, said Iguodala. Hes been able to adjust and thats a big part of his career. When somethings thrown at you and they say you have a weakness, how do you adjust? And I think hes been able to do a great job of adjusting to that and keeping himself a threat on the court, and not being a liability on defense.