Sunday, October 14th, 2012 at 12:00 pm  |  18 responses

Top 50: Andre Iguodala, no. 26

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Jake Appleman / @JakeAppleman

I’m trying to understand something. If defense is roughly half the game, how is the best defender from the team that ranked third in defensive efficiency last season—a guy who is arguably the best perimeter defender in the League—the 26th best player in the NBA?

In part, it’s because so many respect the ball and who has it, not off-the-ball action. Having the ball and using it for your own good means power. It means you will score. It means you will be marketed.

But sometimes you have to defend the guys who defend.

Remember: Five years ago, when he was younger and not quite in his prime, Andre Iguodala scored 20 a game—well, 19.9—for a Playoff team with a solid defense… that he was a big part of. Oh, and he did that next to Andre Miller, who is half of the fascinating two-headed point guard monster suiting up next to Iguodala in Denver this season.

Iguodala was good enough to make the United States Olympic team and thrive in London. He was good enough to aid and push a balanced team to within one game of the Eastern Conference Finals. In a League so often defined by cool nerves under pressure, he was composed enough to bounce back and sink two free throws to finally get the Sixers out of the first round in his first All-Star season.

Yet, at least as it pertains to the voters here, the understanding of what Andre Iguodala embodies seems to have regressed when it was supposed to evolve. Are we still so jaded that when we don’t see stat accumulators insert*ball*in*hoop at a frequency that pleases us… we devalue their other contributions? Andre Iguodala was a better shooter last year when he averaged 12.4 ppg than when he almost hit 20 per; he just shot less.

All of this to say: please enjoy the Denver Nuggets this season. Please enjoy Manimal and McGee and Ty Lawson and Andre Miller and the talented folks sent back in the Carmelo Anthony deal. Let me be the last of hundreds of NBA diehards urging you fire up the League Pass and bask in Nugget basketball.

And the guy flying around the court for emphatic dunks and shot-altering close-outs for a team likely to win a ton of games and possibly make huge noise in the Playoffs? He’s always been this player, this team-improving talent; you’ll just be seeing him at altitude now.

Where should Andre Iguodala rank in the SLAMonline Top 50?

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SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2012
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Greg Monroe Pistons C 8
49 Tyreke Evans Kings PG 14
48 Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 13
47 Stephen Curry Warriors PG 12
46 Ricky Rubio TWolves PG 11
45 Al Jefferson Jazz PF 14
44 Anthony Davis Hornets PF 13
43 Serge Ibaka Thunder PF 12
42 Al Horford Hawks C 7
41 Ty Lawson Nuggets PG 10
40 Danny Granger Pacers SF 6
39 Tim Duncan Spurs PF 11
38 John Wall Wizards PG 9
37 Monta Ellis Bucks SG 8
36 Zach Randolph Grizzlies PF 10
35 Roy Hibbert Pacers C 6
34 Tyson Chandler Knicks C 5
33 Eric Gordon Hornets SG 7
32 Kevin Garnett Celtics PF 9
31 Manu Ginobili Spurs SG 6
30 Amar’e Stoudemire Knicks PF 8
29 Marc Gasol Grizzlies C 4
28 DeMarcus Cousins Kings C 3
27 Paul Pierce Celtics SF 5
26 Andre Iguodala Nuggets SG 5

• Rankings are based solely on projected ’12-13 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jake Appleman, Maurice Bobb, Rodger Bohn, Brendan Bowers, Franklyn Calle, David Cassilo, Bryan Crawford, Adam Figman, Eldon Khorshidi, Eddie Maisonet III, Ryne Nelson, Ben Osborne, Allen Powell II, Sam Rubenstein, Jonathan Santiago, Abe Schwadron, Leo Sepkowitz, Dave Spahn, Ben Taylor, Tzvi Twersky, Peter Walsh, Tracy Weissenberg, Yaron Weitzman, DeMarco Williams and Dave Zirin.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • Bravo

    He should be higher than that

  • http://www.facebook.com/HolyBaller Dillan Leu

    I don’t see him as being better than Paul Pierce, at all.

  • spit hot fiyah

    “• Rankings are based solely on projected ’12-13 performance” slam please put this in font size 100 so people understand what the list is about. it is not about being better than anyone at this very moment.

  • Shifty

    Though I’m happy with this he’s not better then Paul pierce. Pierce is a pretty good defender too. Iggy should be around re 28,29 spot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/HolyBaller Dillan Leu


  • Drig

    On a fast-breaking team that plays to his strengths, I don’t see why not. Esp. since Doc WILL regulate PP’s minutes this season.

  • KidSwoosh

    Coming off a Lebron-lite type of year, Dre deserves to at least be top 20…being a Sixers fan, Ive watched Dre since he came in the league and despite the criticism he’s gotten from the fans here, he’s easily been our best player since the original AI…..He may not be the offensive weapon that we wanted him to be, but if you look at the stats, he did everything from scoring-passing-rebounding and of course defense, his unselfishness also shows why the Sixers had such a balanced scoring load….Iggy’s gonna flourish in Denver nd just add more firepower to an already scary team

  • Caboose

    This isn’t all about numbers, it’s “performance.” That includes defense. Pierce, at no point in his career, has ever been a better defender than where Iggy is now. Yeah, Pierce will score more points. That’s it.

  • danpowers

    as it says in the article: the nba is all about show. sometimes rather than substance, at least when it comes to appreciation of talent. and iggy is too much of a humble teamplayer on offense to be appreciated the way he deserves it. plus most coaches say defense wins championships but id take offense over defense any time of the day. meaning that a guy who can light the scoreboard up can be forced by a coach to play defense too and at the end of the day its about having scored more points than the opponent. iggys offensive game is solid but he is no durant so there is a certain limitation in his offensive game. to have a succesful team you couldnt use him as your first offensive option. hed be a good 2nd or a great 3rd option on offense for any team tho. i think to crack the 20 it takes a little more firepower. nevertheless i expect to see one or two guys cracking the 20 who dont deserve it.

  • danpowers

    this ranking is more about output than just about skills and talent. pierce will be rested for the playoffs while iggy will play major minutes. expect him to surpass pierce numbers even thougjh pierce still being the better player.

  • Airnest

    Pierce is a better scorer, passer, 3pt shooter, FT, shooter, more skilled, and more clutch at age 35. How about that for “performance”

  • ctk

    this ranking will seem low ..Once we see the 76ers miss the playoffs this season

  • Redd

    So I assume then that Deng won’t make it?

  • Caboose


  • Hursty

    This frustrates me immensely. Iguodala is a top 20 player. He’s DEFINITELY in the top 25. What I don’t understand, is how if he finishes at 26, people must have left him out of their top 30-35 rankings. Which is ridiculous.

  • KC

    Wow all the people who don’t actually watch Iggy play on nightly basis don’t understand how truly overrated he is. I am a Sixers fan and have been watching him his entire career. The best way to describe him as a player is untapped potential. He is not lebron lite by an means and far from an all-star. He is average in all facets of the game. Just because he gets a few highlight dunks on sports center, you people get fooled. Why do you think the sixers have been trying to trade him for 3 years? To put him in front of paul pierce is just nonsense, all credibility lost!

  • LakeShow

    Love this guys game.


    wtf? he carried your sixers after iverson left. he had all-star caliber stats during 2007-2009 seasons. the sixers were mediocre and that’s the reason why he didn’t made the all-star team. you sixers fan are really fair-weathered. no star/superstar will ever want to play for you guys. good luck with bynum. i think he will not resign with Philly. hahahahahahah!