Friday, February 04, 2011

Fact or Crap: Andre Iguodala

By John McMullen

Philadelphia - Recently I made the mistake of defending the Sixers' Andre Iguodala on Twitter, a thankless exercise here in the City of Brotherly Love since the Arizona product has already been branded with Scarlet Letter "O" --  overpaid and overrated.

Of course fans tend to be a tad emotional and often illogical in their "arguments" so I decided to take on each and every Twitter response in a game of "Fact or Crap: Andre Iguodala."

Fan assertion No. 1 - The Sixers thought Iggy was a franchise player when they re-signed him to a six-year, $80 million dollar deal in August of 2008.

Crap: In fact back when he used to show his face in public Ed Stefanski often went out of his way to point out that Iguodala was a complimentary piece and the team needed a primary scorer, which was supposed to be Elton Brand, the guy who was signed a month earlier to an even bigger deal.

The fact that Brand hasn't lived up to that billing and Iguodala has often had the ball in his hands late in games doesn't mean the Sixers front office ever pegged Iguodala as the franchise player. By that logic, Doug Collins thinks Lou Williams is a franchise guy since the Atlanta native has now earned the coach's trust late in games.

Fan assertion No. 2 - Iguodala settles for too may jumpers.

Fact, kind of: He certainly did under Eddie Jordan and Collins constantly encourages and sometimes berates Iguodala to use his athleticism and slash to the bucket more.

That said, Iggy is often forced to settle for a J when the shot clock is winding down since he is the only Sixers player that can rise up and get his shot off against anyone. Also, understand Iguodala has struggled with Achilles tendinitis all season and hasn't been completely healthy.

Fan assertion No. 3 - Iguodala will never be an All-Star player.

Crap: The Sixers think he was an All-Star player back in 2008-09 and think he will be again. This season, Iguodala has missed 12 games with the tendinitis after missing a total of six in his first six seasons. Collins has also been instructed by team doctors to try and keep him to six or seven minute spurts which has cut down his playing time. Recently, Iguodala has looked far healthier and has averaged 16.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.3 steals in his last 10 games while playing lockdown defense. That is All-Star level play and if he had more help, Iguodala would already have had a couple All-Star appearances on his resume.

Fan assertion No. 4 - Pedestrian players like Jose Calderon have a better PER than Iguodala.

Crap: Actually PER itself is crap. For those of you who don't know what player efficiency rating (PER) is, its a formula devised by ESPN's John Hollinger to determine a player's per-minute productivity.  The second thing you should know if, as of a couple days ago, Hollinger's ratings had Orlando's Ryan Anderson as the 19th best player in the game, ahead of Hall of Famers like Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan.

The Bill James of the NBA also had Iguodala rated among the shooting guards, even though he rarely plays that position these days since the emergence of Jodie Meeks in the Sixers' rotation. If you are spending all this time to devise a complicated formula  to prove a player's worth, how about spending the 10 seconds it would take to actually figure out what position the guy plays by actually watching?

Iguodala's PER is 17.68 right behind Ray Allen and ahead of Jason Richardson as the league's ninth best shooting guard. If he were listed at his proper position he would be No. 6, south of Rudy Gay and ahead of Danny Granger.  What does all that mean -- nothing, it's just fodder for fantasy geeks.

Fan assertion No. 5 - Iguodala takes too many three-point shots.

Crap: Iguodala has taken just 92 in 36 games this season and is shooting 33.7 percent. Let's round that down to 33 for argument's sake, a number that is more than acceptable for a wing player. Simple math says if a player takes 100 threes and makes 33 percent that's 99 points. The same player would have to shoot 49.5 percent from inside the three-point line, a number that is well above average, to generate the same offense.

Fan assertion No. 6 - Iguodala is overpaid

Crap: Iggy is currently the 39th highest paid player in basketball. If you can name 39 better players in the NBA, I'd like to see that list.

Fan assertion No. 7 - Iguodala is overrated

Crap: While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I'm sticking with the experts. Coach K loves Iguodala. That means more to me that Pat from south Philly. Coach Collins just called Iguodala his best player after his stellar performance against Carmelo Anthony and Denver.  That means more to me that a PER loser that hasn't watched Iguodala enough to know what position he is playing.

So, no offense to Philly Pete and rest of the Twitter crew, but you're all full of crap.

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