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A Heavy Load

Lost amid the losing, questionable coaching and nonexistent defense we've been forced to endure over the first ten games is the remarkable start Andre Iguodala has gotten off to. There's a catch, though. I think he's doing too much.

Quick trivia question for you: Who's the only player in the NBA to currently lead his team in minutes, points, assists, steals and defensive rebounds? That's right, Andre Iguodala. What's most impressive about the stats above is that he's leading the team in defensive rebounds while spending about 88% of his minutes at the two.

That stat is both amazing and alarming. Iguodala's defensive rebounding rate (19.0%) is third on the team, behind the team's two centers: Dalembert (23.7%) and Speights (19.8%). He's doing more work on the glass than all the power forwards on the roster, including Elton Brand (15.7%).

Iguodala has a size and strength advantage on most of the two guards on the other teams, but I don't think that's why he's getting so many rebounds. I think it's because his team needs him to. This is a recurring theme.

When the team needs someone to initiate offense, the ball goes to Iguodala. When a wing gets hot, it's Iguodala who switches onto him. For me, the straw that broke the camel's back came against Utah. When Lou Williams and Willie Green spent the first two-and-a-half quarters getting torched by Eric Maynor off the dribble, it was Andre Iguodala who had to step up and start guarding the point. I'm not sure if it was Eddie Jordan who called for the defensive switch, or Iguodala himself, but it really doesn't matter if the coach is asking this much of him or he's simply taking the weight of the team on his own. The reality of the situation is this is too much for one player.

Consider this, in the Sixers' three back-to-backs so far this season, Iguodala has logged 237 minutes total. That's 237 minutes of chasing his man through endless screens, crashing the boards, bringing the ball up the floor, initiating offense and more recently, guarding the point in half-court sets.

Beyond the toll this beating is going to take on his body, think about the effect of having Iguodala so involved in every facet of the game. With him under the glass, the Sixers don't get as many run out opportunities. In fact, their most reliable fast break offense is when Iguodala grabs the rebound and sprints coast to coast for the finish. How sustainable is that over an 82-game schedule?

Some of the other guys on this team are going to need to start carrying their weight. If they can't, then Eddie Jordan is going to have to start making substitutions based on something other than the perceived ability to hit 20-foot jumpers. Defense and rebounding need to become a priority, if for no other reason than to keep this team's head somewhere near above water until the Princeton offense is fully installed.

Oh, and for the record, if Jordan does replace Elton Brand with either Jason Smith (12.5%) or Rodney Carney (8.9%) the team's defensive rebounding is going to get even worse.

Two alarming things about Igudoala's numbers thus far: He's only shooting 64.6% from the foul line, which is simply atrocious. He's also only going to the line 4.5 times/36 minutes. Down from 5.7 last year. Possibly a result of his jumpers falling more frequently.

In case you missed it, there here's an update from Yahoo! via Twitter which landed late last night:

Charlotte had offer to trade Raja Bell and Vladimir Radmanovich to Philly for Sam Dalembert, but chose Stephen Jackson deal, source tells Y!

Bell in his prime was a very good perimeter defender and he could knock down the three. He's no longer anywhere near his prime, but his contract is expiring. Radmanovic is an avid snow-boarder who occasionally likes to hoist threes. Vlad is owed about $13M over the next two seasons. This trade would've basically brought nothing of value to the Sixers, but it would've saved them about $6M next season.
by Brian on Nov 17 2009
Tags: Andre Iguodala | Basketball | Sixers |