Top 50: Andre Iguodala, no. 26
The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.
by Doobie Okon
Over the last couple days, new rumors have sprouted that the 76ers entered into the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes, with Andre Iguodala being the main trade bait. One of my friends, a fellow Sixers fan, said yesterday that if Sixers GM Ed Stefanski pulled this deal off, he’d anoint the oft-criticized Stefanski “King of Philadelphia.”
In fact, he said Stefanski would warrant the regal moniker even if he made the trade and ‘Melo only played one minute in a Sixers uniform. Yes, that’s how much Philly fans love their Iggy…the majority just want him gone at this point.
On paper, Iguodala’s numbers are fine. Matter of fact — they’re pretty damn good. Since Allen Iverson jettisoned Philly for Denver back in December of 2006, Iggy has averaged 18.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists. And there’s no doubt that the former ‘Zona Wildcat has immense talent to go along with his incredible leaping ability, as Nate Robinson surely knows.
It’s quite amazing how much national perception can differ from the local feel, though. On the outside looking in, many will look at Iggy’s well-rounded statistics and be comfortable putting him as the 26th best player in the League. But trust me when I say that many Philadelphians are going to disagree.
So, what’s the problem with Andre and the city of not so brotherly love?
Defense? Nah. Iguodala is regarded as an above-average defender around the League, and his size (6-6, 207 pounds) and speed allows him to cover the likes of Kobe, LeBron, Durant and usually any other team’s best player on a nightly basis. Many Philly fans know and appreciate this defensive effort.
Durability? Not even close. Andre has only missed six games his entire career, all at the end of the ’06-07 season.
The jump shot? Well, it certainly isn’t pretty and it certainly isn’t great. Iggy’s 44.3 percent field goal percentage last season was the worst of his career, and his career mark of 32.1 percent from beyond the arc is not very good at all. But when you consider Kobe’s marks of 45.6 FG% and 32.9 3P% from last year, Iggy’s numbers don’t look so awful. And lord knows Allen Iverson didn’t shoot very well when he was shining in a Sixers uni, either.
The problem with Iggy dates back to that gloomy winter day when the little guy left, when Andre Iguodala became the primary ‘AI’ in the locker room. The Sixers never intended to draft Iguodala as a replacement for Allen Iverson, but that’s the position Iguodala had to assume simply because he was the next best player on the team. And because of that, Philadelphia has been mired in mediocrity and inconsistency the last four seasons until this past year when they thankfully lost enough games to land the No. 2 draft pick.
So, it’s not all Iggy’s fault. He’s a good guy, a sick dunker, a great talent, but frankly, Andre Iguodala is not a franchise player. Tools abound, he’s not the leader that LeBron is. He’s not the winner that Kobe is. He doesn’t have the heart that AI played with every game.
Some nights, he puts up fantastic numbers. Others, he disappears. Although his shooting percentages are decent, Iguodala often settles for the jumper instead of driving the lane, where he can thrive. And the worst attribute — he’s not the type to take over the game in the waning minutes. He’s just not that guy.
The point is, Iguodala’s had to be that guy since Iverson left. Sure, Iggy’s numbers greatly increased when the Answer exited Philly, and maybe they would diminish again if he was on another team, but I believe he’d flourish much more as a big impact role player than as a franchise guy. And maybe with Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner emerging for the 76ers this year, Iggy might play down into more of a successful role, but that’s to be seen.
However you view Iggy’s career so far, either as a success or an enigma, the people have spoken…and I say kudos to you, Andre Iguodala, on your No. 26 ranking.
|SLAMonline TOP 50 PLAYERS||OVERALL RANK||POSITION RANK|
• Rankings are based solely on projected ’10-11 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jeremy Bauman, Maurice Bobb, Erildas Budraitis, Sean Ceglinsky, Ben Collins, Bryan Crawford, Sandy Dover, Adam Figman, Manny Maduakolam, Eddie Maisonet, Ryne Nelson, Doobie Okon, Ben Osborne, Charles Peach, Branden Peters, Quinn Peterson, David Schnur, Todd Spehr, Kyle Stack, Adam Sweeney, Dennis Tarwood, Tracy Weissenberg, Lang Whitaker, Eric Woodyard, and Nima Zarrabi.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.