So how is that Allen Iverson for Chauncey Billups trade working out? Funny you should ask! The Nuggets are 5-1 since adding Billups. The Pistons are just 3-3 with A.I., but they did win three straight on the road and gave the Los Angeles Lakers their first loss of the season. So everyone's happy, right? You bet they are! But maybe no one is more quietly pleased than Denver coach George Karl. Ok, maybe not so quietly—since he's just flat out saying that Iverson was a coach's nightmare. (Especially if your coach happens to be George Karl.) Karl explained to the Denver Post yesterday that Iverson is a great player who will thrive in the veteran lineup of Detroit. But if he never pollutes George's gameplan again, it will be too soon.

"There are less bad plays, more solid plays," Karl said. "I think the wasteful, cheap possessions that we used to have 10 to 15 a game, they don't exist very much anymore."

Me-ow. But is that just praise of Billups or a backhanded slap at All... oh, you're just going to call him out now? Proceed.

"We have contested-shot charts, bad-shot charts and cheap defensive possessions," Karl said. "I would say that when A.I. was here, we had most games in the teens of contested, tough shots, sometimes in the 20s. And I don't think we've had a double-digit one since (Billups has) been here. "I don't think there's any question coaching a team for many minutes, without a passing and point guard mentality, is frustrating for a coach. Sometimes I saw something, but I couldn't get it done on the court because I didn't have a playmaker out there." "A.I., at times, had trouble trusting the guy he's throwing it to," Karl said.

Not a playmaker? That's one way to put it. Another way to put it is that he has the third-highest scoring average in NBA history and doesn't trust his teammates because he's better than they are. The important thing is that you shouldn't hide your feelings. Karl to A.I.: "Don't let the door hit you on the way out"... [Denver Stiffs] Point guard praise: Billups over A.I. [Denver Post] Photo: AP