The transition from great to good

Before it was announced Thursday that Philadelphia guard Allen Iverson would miss Friday's game in Boston, Celtics coach Doc Rivers spent a few moments talking about Iverson's return to the 76ers and what he's noticed from The Answer.

That led to an enlightening conversation in which Rivers talked about when an aging veteran knows his playing days are over. Joking it was easy for him because, "I wasn't good any more," Rivers suggested Iverson should hang around, even if great has transitioned to good.

"Here's the question: What if you're not as good as you were, but you're still good enough to help your team?" asked Rivers. "The average ones like me, we'll never have that dilemma. When you don't have it, you're out. But when you're no longer great, you're probably still good. If you can live with good, then you should play -- if you love the game. The problem is fans want to see great and it's tough for them to accept [good]."

So what is Iverson right now? Still great or just good?

"You can see him, he's rusty, but he's shaking it off," said Rivers. "I think he's great, but I hope he's good [vs. the Celtics]. That's the way I look at it."

As for the player's mentality, Rivers suggested Iverson should never stop expecting to be great.