September 23, 2014

Andre Iguodala THE Shooting Guard

“Andre Iguodala isn’t a shooting guard.”

“Andre Iguodala can’t play shooting guard.”

“The Sixers should sign and trade Andre Iguodala for a ‘real’ shooting guard.”

Those have been some of the emphatic statements that littered blogs, forums and even the general media before the Elton Brand signing and now after the elation of having a stud power forward in Philly has subsided a bit. The “what to do with Andre Iguodala topic” has been, without question, the hottest debate among Philadelphia 76ers fans this summer.

So I decided to do a little homework, mix it with some basketball common sense and subjectivity and tackle this debate head on.  Grab your beverage of choice for this one!

Different Types of Shooting Guards (aka Wing Players)

“Andre Iguodala isn’t a shooting guard.” Says who?  The little “SF” next to his name in the boxscore? Shooting guard and small forward are the most interchangeable positions in basketball in terms of skill set in my opinion.  That is why the term “wing player” exist to classify the two positions as a whole.  Ed Stefanski buys into this train of thought as well.

With that said there are different types of wing players who bring a certain style of play to the position.  This is heavily weighted toward their offensive specialty.

  • Catch-and-shoot guy – Typically called a shooter.  A guy who uses screens well to get open looks.  Can knock down 3-pointers at a high rate and stretches the defense.  The elite guys in this group are also very good mid-range jump shooters as well.  Capable of taking one or two dribbles to create space for jumpers around invisible arc, foul line extended.   Example: Reggie Miller/Ray Allen/Rip Hamilton
  • Slasher - This guy loves to attack the rim and score inside around the basket.  The best thing about this player is they get to the line at an alarming rate, which is a very efficient way to score.  The elite guys in this group learn when taking the ball all the way to the hole isn’t the smartest option and develop a nice floater or short jump shot.  The added bonus of this type of player compared to the catch-and-shoot guy is their ability to create shots for teammates.  This player is typically not a strong 3-point shooter.  Example: Dwyane Wade/Allen Iverson/Monta Ellis
  • Defensive stopper – Because the wing position has the most dynamic scorers this class of player has developed out of need.  They defend the best perimeter player on the opposing team, and that is their primary role.  In many cases this guy is a spot-up jump shooter (what I like to call a passive scorer) on the offensive end.  Why? Imagine having to chase Rip Hamilton and D. Wade around all game, then turn around on the offensive end and have to run off the same number of screens to get open for shots.  Not going to find to many guys capable of doing that at a high level.  Example: Bruce Bowen/Raja Bell
  • Mr. Do It All -  Can score in every way possible; catch-and-shoot, knock down threes, penetrate and score at the rim, post up and create and make shots off the dribble.  This player can just as easily distribute the rock and is also a strong defender.  Example: Michael Jordan/Kobe Bryant

With all things nothing is absolute.  Players can fit into more than one category at different times but as a whole these categories accurately cover the different types of wing players.

Andre Iguodala posterizes Solomon JonesSo where does Andre Iguodala fit? Well, when he first entered the league he was without question a defensive stopper with signs of a slasher’s scoring ability.  As his role increased he has drifted more into the slasher group as that is where is skill set is strongest.  He can get to the basket and finish strong.  He is also a decent passer off the dribble as well.  Sadly, his defensive stopper tendencies have declined with the added demand on him to be an active scorer.

I blame both Iguodala and the fan’s biases for the belief that he isn’t a shooting guard and is incapable of shifting to that position full-time.

Iguodala does not play to his strengths (slashing and scoring around the basket) enough.  He often settles for jump shots which lowers his overall scoring efficiency.  This is the biggest knock on his game right now.  If he penetrated more he would give himself 3 ways to help the team win: score, assist on a score and increase his free throw attempts.  When he settles for jumpers the only way he can help is by making shots.  Not being a great shooter makes that a losing proposition.

Many people seemed to have a bias that the ideal shooting guard should be a true shooter.  I don’t know why.  Maybe because the name of the position has “shooting” in it!  Add the fact that they often see Iguodala shooting perimeter shots and missing, and I can see why they don’t like the idea of him as the Sixers’ shooting guard.  If he cut down on his weak pull up jumper, at least until he improves his consistency with it, and continued to put pressure on the defense by driving, I don’t think people would have as much issue with him.  His FG% (the stat casual fans pay attention to) will go up along with his points scored from the line.

That leads us to a good approach for evaluating what makes a good shooting guard.

How to Evaluate Shooting Guards

There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel here.  Scouts, inc has put together a good 7-point grading system for evaluating shooting guards.

  1. Scoring
  2. Shooting
  3. Size and Strength
  4. Athleticism
  5. Ball-handling and Passing
  6. Defensive Toughness
  7. Mental Toughness

I’m not going to regurgitate ESPN.com’s content, you can read their full definitions and write-up at the link above if you want to.  What I will do is give you statistical measures to use when evaluating Iguodala or any wing player against some of those criteria.

Another set of criteria that go hand and hand with the above criteria is the 4 factors of basketball success as outlined by Dean Oliver in Basketball on Paper.  In order of importance…

  1. Shooting percentage from the field
  2. Offensive rebounding
  3. Turnovers
  4. Getting to the line – and making them

I have compiled the ’07-’08 season stats of 66 wing players.  Any rankings mentioned in the post will be against that list.  It’s certainly not perfect but it should be good enough to get the job done.  To see the list of players click here. *Gilbert Arenas stats are from the ’06-’07 season.

Scoring: Quantity, Efficiency and Versatility

Points per game is too simple a stat to use because it says nothing about scoring efficiency and is impossible to use in comparing players.  Instead we’ll look at scoring and all stats on a per minute basis.

Andre Iguodala scores 0.5 points per minute and 20.1 points per 40 minutes.  That ranks 23rd among the 66 wing players on my list.  To give you an idea how he compared to starters; Iguodala ranks 18th among guys that started 75% or more games (29 total).

Iguodala isn’t a high volume scorer.  He rarely is going to drop 30, and it’s even less likely he would explode to score 40 plus.  But he will consistently get you 18-22 points every game making him a nice second scoring option.

What about scoring efficiency? I like to look at points-per-shot (PPS) to measure this.  It tells me how effectively a player is using his shot attempts.  Iguodala has a 0.99 PPS, ranking 35th.  Compared to other starters he is middle of the pack at 15th.  Notable players he is ahead of: Allen Iverson, Michael Redd, Vince Carter, Joe Johnson, Gilbert Arenas, Tracy McGrady and Brandon Roy.

What about scoring versatility? Andre Iguodala excels in one of the 4 factors, which is getting to the line.  He got to the line 6.2 times per 40 minutes, ranking 9th (tied with Louis Williams).  When Iguodala is driving the ball he is clearly at his best.  Scoring at the basket, getting fouled and creating shots for his teammates.  If we see improvement with his three-point shooting and shot off the dribble, he will become a much more dynamic and difficult-to-defend scoring threat.  Not because he is hitting long range shots but because now you have to respect it, and that should open up more driving lanes.

One area he desperately needs to improve is his shot clock usage.  He needs to make quicker, sharper decisions on offense.  The other area I’d like to see Iguodala improve and go to more is the post up.  There should be more opportunities, size and strength advantages for him to exploit at the shooting guard position.

From a scoring perspective Is Andre Iguodala good enough to be the Sixers’ starting shooting guard? As a #1 offensive weapon obviously not, but with the addition of Brand I say would yes.

Shooting EfficiencyAndre Iguodala shoots over Tim Duncan

Again the boxscore stat: FG% doesn’t do an accurate job of evaluating a player’s shooting ability and efficiency.  Instead we look at effective FG percentage (eFG%) which takes 3-pointers into account and is the best way to look at shooting from the floor.  Then we look at true shooting percentage (TS%) which considers both 3-pointers and free throws and is a good measure of a player’s overall shooting ability.

Andre Iguodala ranks a meager 35th in eFG% at 49.5% (tied with Michael Redd).  BUT, he ranks 15th among guys who started 75% or more of their games.  Ahead of the likes of: Allen Iverson, Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, Gilbert Arenas, Brandon Roy and Tracy McGrady.

We all know about Iguodala’s weak 3-point shooting. AI2 shot 32.9% from three last year, good for 52nd among similar wing players and 22nd in the starters group.  The real problem with that is the attempts.  It’s one thing to be a mediocre 3-point shooter; it’s an entirely bigger issue to be a poor shooter who jacks up as many attempts as Iguodala does (3.8/40M).  Of the 14 players that shoot worse than Iguodala from beyond the arc only five shoot more attempts per 40-minutes.  It’s quite simple: shoot better, or shoot less.  Make a conscious decision what type of offensive player you are going to be, and stick with it.  Perfect examples: Monta Ellis and Flash.  They shoot 23.1% and 28.6% from three respectively, but only take 0.7 and 1.6 attempts per forty minutes.  I don’t think anyone has much problem with them as starting shooting guards.

What about free throw and overall shooting? Iguodala had a down year shooting the ball from the line at 72.1%, good for 60th.  But even his career number 76.5% would only move him to 42nd on the list.  He needs to shoot the way he did during the 2007 season (82%), especially since he gets to the line so often.  Iguodala does shoot free throws better in late game, clutch situations (more on this below), but the team won’t be in those situation if he doesn’t focus on making them throughout the entire game (65% in the first quarter from the line).

As for his TS% he ranks 42nd overall at 54.3% and 20th among starters.  That number simply is not good enough for me.  Luckily I think he can improve there with better shot selection and converting more free throws during the first three quarters of games.

Is Andre Iguodala an adequate enough shooter to play shooting guard? Not quite yet, and if you buy into Dean Oliver’s 4 factors which says shooting from the field is the most important factor in team success, Iguodala’s inadequacy is a real concern.  But as I mentioned above does he really HAVE to be a strong perimeter shooter in order to be successful?  As a four-year player with a strong work ethic and admitted desire to improve his shooting, I think he will improve his shooting a bit.  I think he can get smarter and therefore improve his efficiency, without necessarily become a knock-down perimeter shooter.  But will he improve it quickly enough to take advantage of Sixers’ window of opportunity?

Any question about Iguodala's athleticism?Size, Strength and Athleticism

In terms of size Iguodala’s measurements are ideal for a shooting guard.  6′ 7″ tall in shoes, 6’11″ wingspan and a 8′ 9.5″ standing reach.  He weighs in the 210 area.  You can see his strength when he is matched up with smaller, thinner guards.  He often overpowers them, something he would have more opportunity to do if he was matched up with shooting guards rather than small forwards.

I am not even going to waste my time talking about his athleticism.  Is there really any question regarding Andre Iguodala in these areas? I think not.

Ball-handling and Passing (aka Taking Care of the Rock)

From a technical standpoint Andre Iguodala is solid passer.  He has his fair share of bad passes, but on the whole he isn’t killing the team in that regard.  But how does Iguodala fair in terms of taking care of the ball overall, a key factor in winning games?  To measure this I look at turnover ratio (TOV%), which tells you how often a player turns the ball over per 100 possessions.  Andre Iguodala’s TOV% is 10.2, which ranks 47th overall.  Even worse is how he stacks up against other starting-caliber players at the position.  He ranks 25th, which would make him one of the worst starting shooting guards in this area.  The only top-tier guards worse than him are Manu Ginobili and Dwyane Wade. I thought people said Andre Iguodala was a good decision maker?

What about more common assist and turnover stats?

  • 2.6 turnovers per 40-minutes – 39th overall and 21st among starters
  • 4.8 assist per 40-minutes – 16th overall and 11th among starters
  • 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio – 27th overall and 13th among starters

Andre Iguodala splits the Knicks porous defenseBall-handling is rather subjective.  You can only really know how good a player’s handle is by watching the games.  How well he creates space for shots or penetrates.  How well he handles pressure and navigates through traffic.  I think Andre Iguodala’s handle is decent, yet under utilized.  Again, when he settles for jumpers he doesn’t maximize what he can do with his ball-handling.  We all agree he can get better shots going to the basket.  But, I think he can combine his handle, size and strength to drive into defenders around the foul line, then stop and pop.  Iverson does it all the time, and he isn’t nearly as big and strong as Iguodala.  Hopefully this is something he is adding to his offensive arsenal this summer.

Good thing Iguodala is a decent and willing passer otherwise he would be a complete liability in terms of protecting the ball.  This is a perfect example of why he isn’t a #1 player.  Big-time players have the ball A LOT and are asked to score as well as make things happen for teammates.  You can’t be a turnover machine when you’re the man with the rock all the time.  This an area we can only hope will improve with more experience and studying game film.

Andre Iguodala blocks Raja BellDefensive Toughness

Andre Iguodala is a good defender.  He has very good size, wingspan and athleticism to be great perimeter defender.  When he first came into the league that was his niche, and he performed extremely well.  As his offensive responsibilities have increased, it’s my opinion that his defense has suffered to a degree.  He still does a good job of playing passing lanes and getting steals.  Iguodala averaged 2.1 steals per 40 ranking 6th overall and 2nd among starters.  But what I have an issue with is the effort on a consistent basis.  You see more and more defensive plays taken off.  Not fighting through screens and not staying with a play, reaching from behind when he gets beat.  With his athleticism he could be a great recovery defender as well as weak side defender, getting more blocks and backside rebounds ala LeBron James.

With that said this area is probably the least of my worries.  With Brand taking more of the scoring load off AI2′s shoulders, I expect him to have more energy to commit on the defensive end.  This will be even more vital now that D. Wade looks to be 100% again and with Mickael Pietrus joining Orlando.

NOTE: Why I didn’t incorporate a stat such as individual defensive rating?  I just don’t think you can accurately quantify individual defense with a single stat because so many positive behaviors and actions are not tracked statistically.  There are no stats for shots contested, strong pick-and-roll or weak side help defense for example.  The most accessible individual defensive stat, DRtg, rewards good defenders on strong defensive teams.  So a player like Raja Bell is undervalued, and a guy like Manu Ginobili is overvalued for example.

Mental ToughnessMental Toughness

Does Andre Iguodala have the mental toughness and willingness to take big shots?  Sure, in fact his shooting is actually better in clutch situations as defined by 82.games.com (4th quarter or overtime, with less than 5-minutes to play and neither team ahead by more than 5 points).  Iguodala’s clutch stats vs. his overall numbers…

  • Overall eFG%: Clutch – 52.3% / Overall – 49.5%
  • Jump shot eFG%: Clutch – 47.8% / Overall – 41.9%
  • Free Throw %: Clutch – 85.5% / Overall – 72.1%

Surprising? The reason lies in his style of play.  During early stages of games he settles far too much for jumpers (72% of his shots) compared to end game situations when he plays to his strength and drives the ball much more (68% of shots are jumpers).  This is really shown in his free throw shooting.  His overall FTA per 48 minutes is 7.5 and his foul drawing is at 13.9%.  During crunch time he FTA per 48 minutes is 18.8 and his foul drawing is at 20.3%.  That is immensly significant and the reason I am frustrated he doesn’t play this way all game.

My only concern with his mental toughness is when things aren’t going well (Detroit playoff series).  At times Iguodala tends to either sulk or compound the problem by making bad decisions.  Again, this is an area I hope will improve with added experience and the addition of Elton Brand.

Rebounding

One of the big reasons I like Iguodala at the shooting guard position is the advantage I think the Sixers gain rebounding the ball as well as an increase in overall size.  Willie Green is not a good rebounder whereas Iguodala brings the benefits of having a small forward-type player and rebounder at the two.  As most people should know stats need to be adjusted based on position so the assumption is that Iguodala will continue to rebound the ball as well as he did as small forward.  He averaged 5.5 boards per 40 which ranks 19th overall and 10th among starters.

Overall Production

The two stats I used to measure overall production are John Hollinger’s player efficiency rating (PER) and Dave Berri’s Win Score per minute (WS/M). Andre Iguodala’s ranks…

  • PER: 19.05 – 15th overall and 8th among starters
  • WS/M: 0.194 – 16th overall and 9th among starters

All that really says to me is if Andre Iguodala was the starting shooting guard for the Sixers, he would be in the top third in the NBA.  That is promising considering his age and tenure in the league.  I don’t think Iguodala has peaked yet, and his future improvement will be more dependent on his decision making and understanding and application of his strengths.  I say that because I have no concern whatsoever about his work ethic.

Andre Iguodala vs. Michael Redd

Quickly lets take a look at a comparison of the player I’ve heard many people suggesting in sign-and-trade proposals.  (Iguodala’s stats are first, Redd’s are second)

Scoring

  • Age: 24 / 29
  • PP/40M: 20.1 / 24.2
  • PPS: 0.99 / 0.99
  • FGA/40M: 15.7 / 18.4
  • FTA/40M: 6.2 / 7.3

Shooting

  • 3-pt%: 32.9% / 36.3%
  • FT%: 72.1% / 82%
  • eFG%: 49.5% / 49.5%
  • TS%: 54.3 / 55.9

Ball-handling and Passing

  • AST/40M: 4.8 / 3.7
  • TO/40M: 2.6 / 2.7
  • TOV%: 10.2 / 9.6
  • AST/TO Ratio: 1.8 / 1.4

Rebounding and Defense

  • REB/40M: 5.5 / 4.6
  • STLS/40M: 2.1 / 1.0
  • BLK/40M: 0.6 / 0.4

Clutch Situations

  • eFG%: 52.3% / 45.1%
  • FT%: 85.5% / 83.3%

Overall Production

  • PER: 19.05 / 18.9
  • WS/M: 0.194 / 0.151

You be the judge.

Andre Iguodala: Sixers Shooting GuardIf Not Andre Iguodala, Then Who?

Maybe the best argument for Andre Iguodala at the shooting guard is the 5-man starting unit that would create with the addition of Elton Brand.  The line-up of Dalembert, Brand, Young, Iguodala and Miller is the best unit the Sixers have statistically and would be one of the best in the entire NBA.

Willie Green ranks…

  • 47th in PER
  • 65th in WS/M
  • 51st in points-per-shot
  • 50th in eFG%
  • 56th in TS%.
  • 12th in FGA/40M (this is alarming!)
  • 63rd in 3-point%
  • 42nd in FT%
  • 39th in FTA/40M
  • 61st in REB/40M
  • 43rd in AST/40M
  • 46th in STLS/40M
  • 19th in BLKS/40M
  • 33rd in TOV/40M
  • 31st in TOV%
  • 49th in AST/TOV Ratio

To say the least Willie Green shouldn’t be starting or playing 26MPG,  especially considering he shoots worse than Iguodala and Louis Williams from three and only slightly better than Lou from the field (eFG%: 46.5. vs. 46.1%).

I think there is little question Iguodala should play the shooting guard for the Sixers given their current personnel.  I also think he is capable of playing the position successfully.

Alternatives?  I would lean towards moving Iguodala back to small forward and starting Louis Williams or Kareem Rush at the shooting guard if Thaddeus Young regresses and isn’t ready to handle the SF position before I go back to Willie Green.  Or with the addition of Donyell Marshall see if he can handle the starting small forward duties (with limited minutes) and keep Iguodala at the two.  That last line-up would add a three-point threat and potentially give the Sixers the best rebounding starting unit in the entire league.

You have a lot of information and my opinion.  What’s yours?

P.S.

@TT32 and anyone else who asked for this post – I hope after reading this you got what you were waiting for and see why it took me so long to get it done.

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Comments

  1. Rob says:

    Wow, Dannie this is quite a billboard of a post. I’m impressed!

    This is an interesting topic of whether Iggy is a “shooting guard”.  Let us disect the pros and cons of him at the 2 spot:

    Pros:
    -Height and length advantage
    -Defensively better that others (especially in the East)
    -Talks to Kobe often (thanks to Rob Pelinka)
    -Motivation and determination to adjust
    -When feet are set, he is capable of hitting the jumpers
    -Made a committment to working all aspects of the jumper
    -With Brand and other acquisitions, pressure is less to adjust
    -Not injury prone
    -Does not settle for jumpers only like most guards
    -How many shooting guards can dunk like him?
    -With the versatility, he’s capable of becoming that certain type of player:
        1) Joe Johnson (big contributor with Suns, now #1 guy with Hawks and helped forced a game 7 v.s Boston) (Hawks 3pt shooting is weak as well!!)
        2) LeBron James (light) (even he is not a great jumpshooter, but is great)
       3)Richard Jefferson (took him a while to get that jumper, but worked hard on)  
      4) Tracy McGrady (first a defensive stopper with Raptors, then became the #1 option with Magic, now he is versatile in every aspect of the game with Rockets)(Now he has to be healthy and advance past the 1st round)  (Iggy is an Iron Man and Sixers will advance past 1st round!!)
      5)Scottie Pippen (had to make the adjustment while Michael was in retirement to be priority #1 and Kukoc was a sidekick)

    Cons:
    -Lacks aggressiveness to score
    -Pass first, score second (unorthodox for a 2 guard)
    -Left vulnerable if he can’t hit the shot (ala Detroit series)
    -Has to adjust in a matter of time, season is late next month
    if the team wants to get off to a great start!!
    -Can he take over a game with that mindset of score first or can he be versatile in crisper decision making?
    -Can he handle the ”big” games and pressure of elite teams?
    -He is no Kobe (continue talking to Kobe)

    Only time will tell when the season starts, but most players reach their prime in their late 20s: (Kobe Bryant is now the ultimate player and is more mature than ever)

    I must admit that in terms of the starting lineup our three point shooting (especially with regularity) isn’t as good as most of the other starting lineups.  Maybe slightly better than some, but could be a vulnerable spot when opposing coaches decide to play their starters longer to expose this).  But if we can stop them from making the 3s first, then maybe things will be interesting!!  That is something Mo will absolutely talk about– opposing 3pt %.  Wow, that’s deep analysis straight from my flowing mind!!  It’s like Stephen A. Smith!!!
     

  2. dre says:

    Now that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!! Great job Dannie, you have added the meat to the sauce.

    Like I said before “the more Dre’s the better”.

  3. Rob says:

    Dannie,

    One advantage I am glad you mentioned, was the rebounding factor.  This guy clamps the ball and does not fumble with the rebound.  Amen to that!!
    One thing you mentioned that I completely forgot in regards to the disadvantages, but I am glad you mentioned it, about Iggy needing to post up, especially against the smaller players.  That is an absolute plus and must, he should take a page from the other Andre and learn some from Brand (the posting up factor).  In fact the team as a whole should go attack and find the mismatches.  Don Nelson would use this technique on offense, which makes him a master, a Hall of Famer, and one of the winningest coaches in NBA history.  He would have his players find the mismatches quickly on the offensive end and dominate, until the opposing team realizes what is going on.  Luckily for Nelson’s brilliant offensive scheme, this helped him grab a plethora of wins just for numbing the other teams offensively with these quick blitzkregs on offense.  See Warrior clips and games coached by Nelson and you’ll see.  Excellent point you mentioned!!!   

    For Iggy, with more help and more support from the rest of the roster, this will put him in a better situation to excel!!  Plus, talking to Kobe Bryant helps as well!!! 

  4. Dave T says:

    Dannie, one of the terms you’ve been using lately in several posts is the idea of an “active” vs. “passive” scorer, which I think is an excellent way to go about defining roles for players on their respective teams.

    I think in Iguodala’s case, the majority of people that don’t like him are highlighting his weaknesses, at a time in his career when he was not guided gently, but SHOTGUNNED from being a 3rd-4th option, and considered a very passive scorer (no plays drawn for him, scoring mostly on put backs and dump passes near the hoop when he moves without the ball, used as a defensive stopper/energy guy)…to when AI/CWebb left and pass-first A-Miller came aboard…to not just an active scoring role…but the NUMBER ONE guy to look to for scoring.

    OF COURSE a player is going to need a good two years to make the adjustment from a 3-4th option to a 1st.  You can’t just be flung from a defensive oriented role to a major offensive cog without facing some big hurdles there.  In my opinion, this is the primary reason we acknowledge his flaws of shot selection, and taking waaay too long to make decisions, and sometimes putting a cog in the halfcourt offense. 

    He’s now had a full year and a half under his belt to be put in a situation where he IS the #1 option (not his ideal role)…experience that…and now he is finally right where he should be:  a #2 option, that at times can pick up the load if need be, but better used with his versatility to get the whole team involved.

    All young players go through growing pains of “learning the game”…particularly shot selection, and when to balance the act of being a distributer/teammate, versus that of taking over, being selfish, and getting a bucket or anything that will win.  In that transitory period…ALL FLAWS COME OUT…this happens with EVERY single young player, with very rare exceptions. 

    I 100% expect to see a more mature, developed basketball player from Iguodala this year, with a slightly improved jumpshot, that slashes more, improves the timing on his passes, and gets back to his defensive ways.  I really think people are going to be shocked at how effective he is in a half court game with a good post player, that will let him move without the ball better, which he excels at WHEN NOT the main option. 

    I personally can’t wait, and be damned with positions.  We have two athletic non jumpshooters as the starting wing guys…we will make up for the lack of shooting by being a top 3 defensive team in the NBA, and scoring tons of points off fast breaks.  The only question to ask is: does Iguodala fit nicely in this system?  Absolutely.

  5. TT32 says:

    Great job Dannie well worth the wait. I think he’ll do fine provided as you said he improves his decision making. And I’m also glad you added the rebounding and the comparison to Michael Redd who is not even in the class as AI2 defensively.

  6. bski says:

    Dannie…An absolute tour de force by you.  Very well done, sir!  You have detailed every point we have talked about over the last few months, and then gone beyond.  I believe your analysis is dead on.

    As everyone here knows, I have been a fairly staunch Iguodala supporter.  I have posted many times on the idea of value or worth throughout the off season.  My position, that Iguodala is more valuable or is worth more to us, remains unchanged.

    Iguodala has the physical ability to do many things well on the court.  Moving forward, the key for me is Iguodala’s willingness to adapt and use his various skills to best suit what the team needs, rather than trying to force what he does on others and make them adapt to him.  Many of the additions we made will have clearly defined roles on the team, which will leave clearly defined holes on the team that will need to be filled when they are on the floor.  To me, this is where Iguodala can show his true value to the team.  Is he willing to handle the ball, run the floor, and defend and allow Marshall to knock down the 3 or to allow Lou Will to score?  Is he willing to post up or cut to the basket and allow Ivey to handle the ball and to run the offense? 

    I see Iguodala as being the most adaptable player on the roster.  As long as he is willing to give the team what it needs on any given night, we will be fine.  If, for some reason, he still wants or needs to prove that the Sixers are “his team” and he gets into some kind of ego competition with Brand, or tries to force things to show that he is still “the man”, we are in trouble.

    I don’t know how good Cheeks’ relationship is with Iguodala.  He certainly appears to relate very well to his players and they seem to respect him.  Also, ES seems like a very sincere, likeable, straighforward guy, so I would expect that he has a good working relationship with Iguodala as well.  I expect that either Cheeks or ES or both of them have had conversations with Iguodala about how the addition of Brand, and others, will change the dynamic of the team and what they need him to provide going forward.  I can’t see them investing 6 years and 80+ million without feeling pretty confident that Iguodala is on board and in agreement.

    Overall, I feel that it was the right move to re-sign him.  I think he will continue to grow and to improve, and in the process we will reap the rewards of his true value to the organization.

  7. deepsixersuede says:

    Dannie, first of all, super job, as always. My only issue with Iggy has always been that with 2 slashers playing 35 minutes a night at the 2 and 3 could we win a championship. I don!t have any doubts on Iggy moving to the 2 ,as you have stated the 2/3 are interchangeable, but more so on how we spread the floor come playoff time. But I think any ripping of him as a 2 guard is premature since he hasn!t been given that oppurtunity yet. I still wish we put him there last year in the Pistons series, it just made too much sense matchup wise not to. I agree with  Blski that he can!t try to be what he is not, and a drop in scoring [17 ppg. ?] and more effort on the defensive end would be fine with me. Our shooting top to bottom should improve bigtime with Elton getting 35 of Reggies last year minutes and Rushes! and Marshall!s additions.

  8. dbeas says:

    How will he perform in the playoffs? That is a question that he will have to answer in the coming years. Playoff performance will define his legacy in comparison to other 6er stars and other highline 2 guards . This past year in the playoffs his production dropped way off. What if that becomes a trend?

  9. Dannie says:

    @dbeas – if it becomes a trend then you have to move him because he isn’t performing period.  But that wouldn’t have much to do with the position he is playing.

  10. Dannie says:

    Suede/all: We have to see how it goes.  I think it will be just fine and actually make the Sixers a better overall team with the switch.

    But here is my issue: If the three point shooting is really an issue why is it that people quickly look at Iguodala as the first guy that needs to be traded? 

    I think you should evaluate all three perimeter players (SF, SG, PG) and trade the weakest all-around player regardless of position for a the player you want to fill the shooting need.  If that means Thad has to go then you trade Thad.  If Thad becomes as good or better than Iguodala then you move AI2.  Same goes with A. Miller, who is a horrid three point shooter and much older. 

    Also, just to note about the playoff performance issue,  everyone does know Andre Miller didn’t have a good series either right?  He averaged half the assists and shot  5.4% less from the field and 13.6% less from the line.  It was just a terrible playoff series period.  Luckily the defense was really good in a couple games and Detroit was pretty bad offensively in a few games.

  11. 2one5 says:

    Dannie, great post very informative and well written. 

    I loved the M Redd comparison, he shoots less than 4% better from 3 point land does not defend rebound or pass as well as Iggy and also has missed a lot of time over the last 3-4 years. Iggy will improve has been very durable and has shown leadership qualities. I have been hard on him sometimes but he is great for this team and with him and Thad in the starting line up we can def be one of the best defensive teams in the league. I could not be more excited for the year. 

  12. jgrands says:

    I have been reading this blog for a couple of weeks now (this is my first post) and the sixers/phillies banter is unparalled. This particular post – its details and commentary - is what is missing from the major media outlets and is truly a gem. Great work!!!

    Now, I think the bottom line key for AI2 is confidence in driving the ball consistently. I know he has felt like he has to shoot the jumper to create space, but with the new additions to the team, hopefully he will not feel compelled to stop and pop as much and just drive! The states are there to prove it.

  13. Morty says:

    dannie: a lot to digest, but I am afraid that with your “comparison,” if it can be called that, to Green, you will have awoken the sleeping wrath of jjg…

  14. Rob says:

    Dannie, this has been a terrific debate.  It’s not just the Presidential Campaign 08 that’s heating up, it’s this one: 

    Iggy, The Shooting Guard?

    What do you make of a guy like Corey Maggette?  He can play both the 2 and the 3. He and Iggy have the length, strength, and size than most shooting guards. Would Iggy be a tweener like him someday, although Iggy is more versatile and better defensively than Maggette?   He should learn from Maggette in terms of taking it strong to the hoop and accepting the contact.  Maggette is known for taking it to the hoop and accepting the free throws.  Perhaps, Iggy should strengthen and chisel his body a bit more in order to accept the contact further more.  I’m sure they are buddies (thanks to the Pelinka connection). 

    The bottom line is that the Sixers will be a better 3pt shooting team than last year!!

    Hopefully, they will be a much better FT shooting team.  A lot of it was all mental mistakes at the line last year, and you could not solely blame Evans for that, even though percentage wise his poor FT shooting did strongly affect the percentage.  They will be sharper this upcoming season, and not dead last.   

    TO BE CONTINUED….

  15. Morty says:

    On topic: You make a great statistical case, that really backs up what our eyes tell us – that Igoudala is, relative to his peers, above average in defense and rebounding, and just middle of the pack in other areas. You also make a solid case that he could easily improve his offensive numbers with merely better shot selection. So, for me, the biggest variable in Igoudala’s development is seeing how and whether he takes advantage of playing with Brand.

    One last point, as I see evidenced in the PER and WS numbers, the sum of Igoudala is greater than the parts.

  16. Morty says:

    I also think Igoudala could reasonably get his turnovers down to 2 per game. He was in that range the last couple months of the season. Also, funny that everyone is saying that he should improve his jumper. Of course he needs to improve his jumper, but even more so he needs to simply stop shooting it as much.

  17. Ryan F. says:

    Dannie..First I would like to say thanks along with every one else for taking the time. Your posts are always solid and I appreciate the work you put in.

    Iguodala at the 2…I like it, we have to, its a HUGE step up from last year and thats the way its going to be.

    My only concern is lack of perimeter shooting in the starting lineup. I like the additions of Rush and Marshall but that doesnt help the team for the entire game, I dont personally see either one playing extended minutes.

  18. RROSE says:

    I like this post.  Great job!  With the addition of Rush and Marshall the pressure for AI2 to hit 3′s will go away to an extent.   Until now not many players on this team could make that shot either.

  19. jjg says:

    It is rumored that Sam Dalembert is slowly making his way to Philadelphia in preparation for the upcoming season, and was most recently seen showering and shaving at Niagara Falls with the last of the Mohicans. 

  20. jjg says:

    No wrath here, Morty.  My staunch opinion, Iguodala is an impressive athletic specimen, just not a premiere basketball player.  When he’s in the flow (on the run), he’s effective; when he has to think the game, he’s not.  Many disagree with me.  Nothing to get excited about.  The present culture of the NBA – all of it - is not exactly fantabulous, and he fits right in.      

  21. jjg says:

    Pete Maravich would make him look like a Washington General.

  22. bski says:

    Speaking of Pete, my son read his biography, Pistol.  He said he liked it.  I didn’t get a chance to read it yet.

  23. Morty says:

    jjg: I think Dannie’s evidence, at least partially, reflects your view that AI2 is worse when he must think. Or, rather, that his decision making (shot selection) is the worst part of his game. If anything, he does not emphasize his strengths enough.

  24. deepsixersuede says:

    As far as his decision making I totally agree with you Morty, and Brand not only makes him our second scoring option but also makes him our 3rd big decision maker behind A.Miller and Elton, a good thing.

  25. deepsixersuede says:

    Dannie, you mentioned a possible need for an athletic wing for defensive purposes, any interest in S.Lasme ?

  26. Rob says:

    These are last year’s team by team comparison for all 30 teams in the NBA:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/statistics?stat=teamstatoff&season=2008&seasontype=2
    76ers:  23rd in scoring   96.6 pts, while giving up 96.2 pts
      FG%:   45.97% while giving up 46.13%
     FT%:    70.61%  Dead Last  

  27. Morty says:

    suede: I think that is my hope, that having Brand allows Igoudala to pick his spots better, and take higher percentage shots with more regularity, not just in transition.

  28. Rob says:

    I think an Iggy backup would be great for this team.  If not this year, then in one or two years.  According to ESPN, here are the
    Free Agents of 2009 and 2010 Offseasons:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?page=FreeAgents-09-10

    I thought I would point that out, while the NBA 2008-09 Preview is constructed!!

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