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Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013 at 3:00 pm  |  59 responses

Top 50: Andre Iguodala, no. 32

With his unique skill set, Iguodala can turn a good team into a great one.

by Eduardo Maisonet, III / @edthesportsfan

I’ve been doing these Top 50 lists for SLAM for a while now. My process for determining a narrative of some sort in describing why Player X deserves Ranking Y begins with the player’s Basketball Reference page.

Andre Iguodala’s page is lacking I tell you, lacking.

There’s no sponsor on the page (cost: $145/year) for the only AI remaining in the NBA. The man’s accolades are quite thin, as there’s just a First-Team All-Rookie honor, one Second-Team All-Defense honor and one All-Star appearance in 2012. With career averages of 15 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists, there’s nothing noticeably distinguishing about Iguodala’s game by his stats or honors.

It’s been that way since his high school days:

“Iguodala grew up in Springfield, IL, at the height of the Bulls dynasty, and patterned himself after Scottie Pippen. He was not the leading scorer at Lanphier High, where he deferred to a gunner named Richard McBride, or at Arizona, where he averaged 12.9 points and set up sniper Salim Stoudamire. ‘He likes being the guy who does everything else,’ says Lawrence Thomas, a coach in Springfield who has worked with Iguodala since ninth grade.”

Being the guy who does “everything else” is the reason why Iguodala is No. 32 in the SLAM Top 50, and frankly…he should be much higher on this list.

What’s scary about the addition of Iguodala to the Golden State Warriors is that many can’t immediately identify what the swingman adds to an already talented roster. Pure shooting, athleticism, handle and perimeter defending are already key skills that are owned by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes. But Iguodala’s value comes in his reliability on the court, his desire to be deferential and a willingness to utilize his wide skill set.

● Guard the opposing team’s daring point guard or burly forward? Check.
● Be an additional ball-handler when teams press? Check.
● Run the lane to facilitate the fast break and finish at the rim? Check.
● Knock down spot-up threes when the moment arises? Check.
● Crash the boards, dish the rock and facilitate within the offense? Check. Check. Check.

Iguodala is a reliever of stresses. A coach knows that Iguodala will always be in the lineup—that’s what missing just 27 games in nine seasons will do for you. A player knows that Iguodala doesn’t need any help in guarding his man, ever, which is the main reason why he made the 2012 Team USA Olympic squad. A fan knows that Iguodala will never cheat you with his effort. He’s an elite athlete, he balls hard in every single contest and he goes balls to the wall on both ends of the court. These are the reasons why Iguodala commanded large sums of money in the offseason, even if statistically it didn’t seem warranted. It’s why everyone in the League should be terrified of what he can do for the Warriors, because he can do everything Golden State needs him to do. Even if that means being the go-to guy at times.

Iguodala is the exact type of player who just gets it, and that’s the reason why you want him on your team.

“‘I learned from being a go-to guy what I didn’t like,’ said Iguodala. ‘Coaches tell you, ‘Get to the hole. Don’t settle for jump shots.’ So when I guard somebody, I want them to settle for jumpers-outside the paint but inside the three-point line—and then use my length to contest late.’ Iguodala memorizes where opponents hold the ball before they raise it up.”

I’m not sure how many players above and below Iguodala in the Top 50 can have the same things said about themselves. It’s the reason why having Iguodala ranked at No. 32 on this list feels like a travesty, and it’s the reason why the Warriors are going to be a real problem for all foes in the upcoming season.

Where should Andre Iguodala rank in the SLAM Top 50?

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SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2013
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Monta Ellis Mavs SG 5
49 Luol Deng Bulls SF 10
48 Ricky Rubio TWolves PG 14
47 Greg Monroe Pistons PF 12
46 Kawhi Leonard Spurs SF 9
45 Mike Conley Grizzlies PG 13
44 Al Jefferson Bobcats C 9
43 David Lee Warriors PF 11
42 Jrue Holiday Pelicans PG 12
41 Anthony Davis Pelicans PF 10
40 Joe Johnson Nets SG 4
39 Serge Ibaka Thunder PF 9
38 Kevin Garnett Nets PF 8
37 Rudy Gay Raptors SF 8
36 Paul Pierce Nets SF 7
35 Ty Lawson Nuggets PG 11
34 Pau Gasol Lakers PF 7
33 Al Horford Hawks C 8
32 Andre Iguodala Warriors SF 6

Rankings are based on expected contribution in ’13-14—to players’ team, the League and the game.

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  • Hum

    FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • LakeShow

    One of my favorite players in the L.

    He is the epitome of the glue guy.

    I love that a team I like to watch (GSW) picked up one of my faves, but damn, I hope everyone gets the playing time they deserve. (Adios Lee?)

  • spit hot fiyah

    if they find a taker then i would guess adios. they flourished without him.

  • shockexchange

    Iguodala will bring much needed toughness to the Warriors. If he thinks he deserves a higher ranking then he should put the Warriors on his back during crunch time and lead the team to the WCF. He doesn’t have to do everything like he did and Philly and he has more talented teammates vis-a-vis Denver. Table is set for him to move into the top 25 next year, assuming he delivers.

  • AddingVelocityDontTellMe

    Being 1st is cool. Iggy is a 3rd offensive option ad a lock down perimeter defender.

    Kawki Leonard better on both ends Slam

  • Caboose

    Nope.

  • Stepfan Raiford

    A solid spot for Diet Lebron.

  • danpowers

    the article makes sense, so does his spot. finally a day without controversy in the top 50

  • danpowers

    iggy can also fill the role of a second option when asked to.
    leonard has the potential to be a better scorer and defender than iggy, but i highly doubt that he will get there this season already.

  • Max

    What the hell, is Damian Lillard going to be top 30??

  • Joseph

    I’m guessing he in the next 5 spots, there is no way they left him off the top 50 all together

  • LakeShow

    Awh sh*t. You’re joking right…(rhetorical)

  • Dundler

    I believe that the use of ‘balls to the wall’ should bump him up a couple of spots at least

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    That’s just stupid

  • Dundler

    I like Iggy, but its weird he’s a spot above Horford, who will absolutely dictate exactly where his team goes, whereas Iggy will be a major piece, but Curry will get them wherever they go

  • Max

    And nice write up, I agree with everything said about him deserving to be higher. (about 25 imo)

  • Dundler

    So it looks like just the Jazz, Magic, Bucks & Sixers that won’t get a player in the top fifty. Strange for the Jazz.

  • Max

    At least Shock Exchange makes me laugh..

  • airs

    damn im missing everything. hey slamfam

  • davidR

    who from the jazz is deserving?

  • davidR

    horford got screwed. he should be somewhere in the 20s

  • Dundler

    Didn’t mean anyone was deserving, just meant its weird for them to not have one after having one for…probably 30 years or so.
    (though I do like Hayward, he could have a chance to make this list next year)

  • Dundler

    Ha, also just noticed that Iggy has been no.26 three times. Is he the leader for guys in the same spot (outside Lebron)

  • BugEyes

    Iggy has work ethic not because of his Muscular upper cheek bones, but because that man couldn’t score 6 points from 3 if you left him in a gym all night, now he is a pretty good shooter

  • AddingVelocityDontTellMe

    explain the stupidity.

    Iggy isn’t as great of a scoring threat as kawhi. Reference his finals performance. He’s ready to make the leap.

  • AddingVelocityDontTellMe

    First off comparing me the ShehChange isn’t valid. I don’t see why you guys are undermining kawhi leonard? Is it the system he plays in that’ll limit his offensive output. Pop i think will commit to getting leonard more involved

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    You are really taking 7 games as your evidence to what is going to happen over the course of an 82 game season? And really, the only perimeter defender better than Iguodala is LeBron (statistically speaking). Plus he’s basically going to be Golden States secondary ball handler. Kawhi can’t really be trusted with that much responsibility yet if ever. .
    Kawhi is going to be much better this season, but let’s not jump the gun. Iguodala is a really really good player, and he’s still right smack in the middle of his prime. It was rude to say its stupid I apologize. It’s just extremely optimistic to the point of teetering on crazy.

  • Caboose

    Without controversy? Go read the Horford comments…

  • Caboose

    I’m tempted to pay that $145 a year just to advertise for something ridiculous…then I’d bring up Iggy’s stats whenever I get the chance, encouraging you guys to go to Basketball Reference…to see my stupid ad…god I am really procrastinating on midterm studying.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Only without controversy for the people who don’t watch the whole league.

  • Sergio

    Am I the only one who thinks that Iguodala is too low? To me, he absolutely needed to be ahead of guys like Lillard, Wall, Lopez and Randolph (who struggled mightly in the Playoffs last year and is on decline).

  • danpowers

    how much higher would you like to see him? he will most likely be the 3rd or 4th offensive option behind curry, thompson / lee. doesnt take away from his overall game, but his capability to be top 20 will most likely not be displayed by him to full extent.

    also: due to all love i got for his game – lets not act like iggy doesnt have flaws. would you like to give him the ball when the game is on the line? well, i wouldnt like to see that guy shoot clutch freethrows for my team and he is a perimeter player. 32 is fair, i wouldnt have argued a higher spot tho.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Iguodala is fine at 33, it seemed like you meant the top 50 as a whole. Because Horford is embarrassingly underrated.

  • danpowers

    you mean that dog dont hunt? lol i jus checked that earlier today. lets see what we have there…

  • danpowers

    thats what nba players get for playing for a solid but mediocore team: flying under the radar. guess he would make a big leap if he could play the 4 permanently as he would just dominate almost any other 4 physically. but unfortunatelly the hawks office failed to put him into his sweet spot.

    anyway, he is listed as center: who of the upcoming centers would you say should rank below horford?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Just read the comments. The whole context of him returning from that torn pectoral muscle at the beginning of the season is being completely ignored. He was the best Center in the league really for the last 2 months (if anyone would have watched. Sh*t you can even look at the stats. But i digress, go read the comments. I explained my position very very thoroughly.

  • danpowers

    that february was a very impressive stretch, but its like you said: most of us just dont watch except when he plays against out teams lol.

    still, that was an 11 game stretch you highlighted. once you gave me the business when i tried to take a 20 game stretch to make a point about a player.

    plus, thats for upcoming season and horford is doomed to be overlooked on this hawks squad. he wont win that many games there and if these hawks get to the playoffs a first round exist is almost certain. i can see why slam gives some others the edge.

    i dont expect that millsap / brand hiring to serve him well. his output (very good one) could even regress or stagnate while others like cousins, hibbert, lopez and howard should increase theirs. noah will continue to be a contenders second best player and gasol gets the edge simply for his dpoy (still scratching my head over that) award.

    as i wrote to caboose in the horford thread: i just dont get who i forgot to be the 7th center who slam could expect to be better than horford. allowedly: if that should be pekovic or sanders that’d be a bad joke.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Here let me make this easier for you, it wasn’t just 11 games, you can extend the highlighted section to half the season. Or keep reading the comments. All of them. .
    And I understand why you think the new big man group won’t mesh, which I agree….to an extent. The team is wasting money, that’s my thing. I don’t see what the plan is, they basically just traded strengths and remained in the exact same place. Horford will probably be a 19-10-4 Center this season, lead the Hawks to a top 15 defense (despite that awful defensive supporting cast), and they will probably play a playoff series on the road.

  • danpowers

    i think i read most comments now.

    i think your prediction is a little too optimistic on him as i expect his “strange” supporting cast to mess up alot of things for him. now that smith is gone defensive lines will focus more on him – i wish him that 19-10-4 season, i just dont really see that coming.

    back to the ranking: “lead the Hawks to a top 15 defense (despite that awful defensive
    supporting cast), and they will probably play a playoff series on the
    road.”

    just remind yourself of what these rankings are about and what that top 50 is about. horford will rule down low, but he will do so in atlanta. in other words: ff a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Just stating my piece. Watch David West come up tomorrow or something. I’m not gonna say a damn thing.

  • danpowers

    you know that you sometimes make me feel guilty? lol

  • Evan Boland

    Around where I would have ‘em. Def think Horford is a better player than Iggy right now though.

  • Armando

    Defense: Iggy > Kawhi

    Ball handling: Iggy >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Kawhi
    Shooting: Iggy >>>>>>>>>>>> Kawhi
    ….

  • Max

    Iggy’s defense is better than Kawhi’s even with Kawhi being a very good defender.
    And outside of the 3 I don’t see what’s better in Kawhi’s offensive game than Iggy’s.

  • pposse

    he is younger, a lot more chances of improvement whereas iggy’s chance for improvement is bleak. Leonard def is a candidate as a guy that can make huge strides this year and for the next 2 or 3 yrs.

  • Eastside BP

    Agreed Ed. Iggy is a poor man’s Lebron and he’s going to beast in the O.

  • Max

    No question, but he said Kawhi IS better than Iggy,,,on both ends..

  • pposse

    yeah true. i didn’t know why i tried to defend that.

  • Max

    lol

  • http://www.netstakeover.com/ JetSkiJohnson

    He should be better than no. 32..

    He’s going to get great shots for the shooters and i can see him averaging the same amount of assists as Curry.

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  • Drig

    Would’ve been in my high 20s (25-30s) but I can see why he’s put here. I’m down with this. GSW are the dark horse in the West this season IMO. More so than the Rockets.

  • LakeShow

    Here’s to hoping Bogut re-emerges.

    If he’s able to play 25mpg into the playoffs, that alone will make them Finals contenders imo.

  • Drig

    If he can go back to his Bucks days and force Beidrins to sit on the bench, I have them losing to OKC in a tough 7 game series assuming both teams are healthy. This is assuming their D does improve with Iggy’s arrival.

  • LakeShow

    Sounds about right.
    Beidrins is so garbage…

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