The constant Andre Iguodala debate in the comments section has left me winded, and curious. I figured now would be as good a time as any to stoke the fires, so I pulled his game logs for this season and the first 40 games of last season to see what how his performance is holding up under a new coach, with new pieces around him in a new system.
What I found was absolutely amazing, at least to me. Check this out: Through 40 games (stat: 08-09/09-10 format):
- 2pt FG: 217/195
- 2pt FGA: 418/418
- 3pt FG: 35/52
- 3pt FGA: 117/161
- FT: 160/167
- FTA: 214/216
- ORB: 40/45
- DRB: 207/230
- AST: 216/236
- STL: 69/78
- BLK: 17/25
- TOV: 113/110
- PF: 75/72
- PTS: 699/713
The similarities in the raw numbers are astonishing. He's taken exactly 44 more shots this season than he had through this point last season, and the difference in FGA is directly attributed to his three-point attempts. He had exactly the same number of two-point attempts through 40 games in each season. Something that's a bit shocking about the shooting numbers is that the three-point difference is actually a good thing, year-over-year. He's taken 44 more and made 17 more. The bad thing is that his two-point field goal percentage has dropped precipitously to this point.
The numbers above are raw, so I broke them down into per 36 minutes in each category, here's the tale of the tape.
Iguodala has played 62 more minutes this season through 40 games, he's taken .5 more shots/36, made .35 fewer. His scoring is down .3 points/36 minutes and he's shown improvement in every single other category. The increase in shots attempted is really a product of the increased pace the Sixers are playing at (they played at an extremely slow pace under Cheeks, and marginally faster under DiLeo, but they are getting between 1-2 more possessions per game this season.
The two significant drop-offs for Iguodala occur in 2-pt field goal percentage and overall field goal percentage. The explanation isn't hard to find, either. A much higher percentage of his field goal attempts are three-pointers, and he shoots them at a poor clip (32.3% on the season). This explains part of the drag on his field goal percentage. His two-point FG% is being dragged down almost exclusively by his poor finishing at the rim, as compared to last season. He shot 73% at the rim last season, and 70% the season before. This year, he's down to 62.6% at the rim, and he's also not getting there as much as he did last season (I can only base shot location comparisons on the full season, I don't have a breakdown for them through x games). So while he's shooting a better percentage on long twos (39% this season, 36% last season), he's replaced some of the attempts at the rim with the lower percentage jumpers.
In a nutshell, he hasn't been as effective scoring the ball this season. His true shooting percentage has fallen from 55.5% a year ago to 52.9% this season. He's making up for it in other areas, and 52.9% is hardly a figure to sneeze at (he's #14 among shooting guards who play starter's minutes, #13 among SFs), so slightly above average efficiency, but we need more from him.
One excuse early on was the Princeton Offense, and it still is to a degree, but it's time for the excuses to come to an end. No matter what Eddie Jordan tells him, no matter what plays he calls, Iguodala is the guy with the ball in his hands. The PO is clearly an epic failure with this team, so what we need now is for him to work to get better shots. Stop settling for the long twos, push the ball in transition at every opportunity, and when you drive the lane, do it with a purpose.
Let me be clear about one thing, though. When I say we need more from Iguodala, I'm not saying we need more points, nor more shots. What I'm saying is we need more efficiency. More points-per-shots or a higher TS%, whichever floats your boat. If it's going to come with fewer FG attempts, that's fine. If it's going to mean the same number of attempts, but smarter shot selection, that's even better. I will say this, though. Iguodala has more offensive talent around him this season than he has in the past. Speights, Brand, Lou, Iverson and even Thad - once he breaks out of this funk - are all viable threats on the floor. This really isn't a team that he needs to carry offensively for more than a key stretch or two each game. Teams really should not be able to double Iguodala anymore, and if they do, he should have a number of choices for how to burn the opposition for it. He should have the opportunity to pick and choose his spots and shots, while using his penetration and passing skills to set his teammates up. He's close, but not quite there.
If history has taught us anything, though, it's that Iguodala heats up for the second half of seasons. I also believe even if Ed Stefanski hasn't seen enough of Eddie Jordan, his players certainly have and we're going to start seeing the players drift back to the natural tendencies and away from the "weave and heave" (trademark, TK76 I believe for that one). If/when they either get rid of Jordan or completely tune him out, I'm hoping Iguodala will get back to concentrating on his strengths as far as shooting the ball goes.