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Iggy Splits

The change in Iguodala's game has been striking. Given all of the changes that have taken place around when Iguodala turned the corner it is hard to know what is a cause versus just a correlation.

Of note, Iguodala had a few good games right before Brand's injury (but after he was moved to SF.) Also, Iguodala got off to a slow start last year too, although he came out of his funk quicker.

Iguodala could not practice normally this summer out of fear of injury while a FA. This also helps explain a large part of his slow start.

Either way, it will be interesting to see if Iguodala can keep playing at such a high level as Brand gets worked back into the schemes. Long term I'm still hopeful that Iguodala/Young can turn into a great SG/SF combo. But it might take a better shooting PG and more progress with Thad's handle before they are ready to deliver on that promise.

He really started to turn the corner right around Dec. 1st, since then he's been extremely consistent, regardless of position.

If he can get back to his career average from three, which he should be able to do, and keep the rest of his game at this level this team will be fine no matter who's on the floor.

I'm not sure what DiLeo is going to do w/ the lineup when Brand comes back, but I firmly believe that Brand will be working into this type of game, rather than trying to fit the rest of the team into Brand's supposed type of game (low post, half court, etc) when he returns.

The key question (to which we really don't know the answer) is what caused this change, was it inevitable, or is it position/player dependent?

When Brand is back - does he slot Young back to the bench - or does he slot Green to the bench and Iguodala back to the two - obviously he's 'emergence' has been at the 3 - but I'm hoping it's not position dependent

Yep, that's the million dollar question at this point. Does he put his best players on the court or does he leave well enough alone and bring Thad off the bench?

john reply to Brian on Jan 13 at 13:34

Either way a change has to be made - and to me - getting Willie Green off the court is better than getting Thaddeus Young off the court - at least at first - and then if it doesn't work - if Iguodala regresses - well that's why Stefanski and Dileo are paid and I"m not - is it brand, is it the position, and depending on the answer, WTH do you do about it?

Best case, it was just a slow start, he moves to the two and the production stays the same.

john reply to Brian on Jan 13 at 13:39

And I agree - but you gotta plan for 'not' the best case - or you get caught flat footed and screwed - trust me - i have an over optimistic boss (who also doesn't know what she doesn't know) and we get screwed all the time because she doesn't even begin to consider what might happen if her overly rosy projections don't happen (and they never, ever, do)

I'm sure this is my being negative - but in my case i just see it as being prepared - so what do you do if Iguodalas production goes down - what do you do?

Brian let me ask you this since you are a stat guy like I. Do you really think the started as G started a F stats say much considering how lineup change during the game?

I reason I bring this up, is because people jump on the Iguodala is better at SF bandwagon so quickly. But when Thad and Iguodala were at the wings together I thought the way the Sixers play offensively this position distinction is irrelevant. They were wings that's it. Even with Willie as the starter, is Iguodala really doing much differently offensively?

What I wonder is if you look at every game individually and grab his stats and minutes at guard and at forward based on the lineup what story those numbers would tell. Maybe they say the same thing, but at least it would be much more accurate data with regard to the question of Iguodala at SF vs. SG.

I actually tracked the rotations for a couple of games, here's an example. And what I saw was that once Iggy was moved to SF, he was almost never at SG again. Short of going through the play by play of ever game, I'm not sure how you could come up w/ an accurate stat, but my guess is that he's spent about 95% or more of his minutes at SF. There have always been two guards in the lineup, with Iggy and some combination of Thad/Evans/Speights at the 4/5. When Iggy is out Thad sees time on the wing, but we've rarely seen Thad and Iggy as a 2/3 combo.

This brings up an interesting question as to Thad's usage, though. When you have those guys at the 3/4, do they still play like 2 wings? You don't see Thad get the ball in the post very often, in fact, you usually see him getting the ball at the top of the key, like a wing would. Interesting wrinkle teams have to deal with, a power forward who can take his man off the dribble from the top of the key, hit the jumper and facilitate from there.

With Lou at the two, and Iggy/Thad at 3/4 you've really got 3 wings on the floor, and 4 guys who can take their man off the dribble. Hard to contend with. I'm looking forward to some small lineups with Miller, Lou, Iggy, Thad and Brand.

The initial impact of Brand's return shouldn't affect Iggy much if Brand comes off the bench. When he is ready to start it's important that the team continue their same style of recent play. Brand has never been a dominating player. There is no good or logical reason for the offense to run through him. When in a half court set if the opportunity presents itself to dump the ball into Brand then fine. Otherwise, he will have his plays and Iggy and others will still get their plays. Most importantly, the team will continue to run. Since Iggy generally scores most his points on breaks and ally oops his contribution shouldn't be affected too much. The onus is on Brand to adapt, which is what should have happen from the onset of play.

AllphillySports on Jan 13 at 14:37

true words
sometimes we can focus on what he can't do,but he fills up the box score.

If you want to see some really strong stats about Iguodala's offense AND defense this year at SG vs SF check out 82games: http://www.82games.com/0809/08PHI6.HTM#bypos

Iguodala has played 25% of the teams SG minutes with a PER of 15.5 and an opponents PER of 16.5.

At SF he played 50% of the teams minutes with a PER of 19.9 and an opponents PER of 11.8.

So the PER differential (Iguodala's production compared to the player he guards) is -1 at SG and +8.1 at SF. That is HUGE. The difference between All-Star play and below average.

Of course stats can be misleading. Much of his SG minutes came early in the season. He might be able to be as effective at SG now that his game has rebounded. I guess we will find out at some point.

Joe reply to tk76 on Jan 13 at 15:18

Last year, he was moderately more productive as a 3 than a 2. But in the previous 2 seasons, he was more productive as a 2 than a 3 in terms of PER difference.

john reply to Joe on Jan 13 at 15:24

I think you ahve to take into account pre/post iverson eras and look at them as almost entirely different things

Joe reply to john on Jan 13 at 15:30

I was attempting to gain a semblance of a sample size. The idea is that there isn't enough data and when you look for more data you will find that it doesn't agree with the Iguodala is a SF only notion but contradicts it. That is why we need a bigger sample size of him at the 2.

Joe, that is basically what I am getting at. I don't think position designation matters at all, but people tend to put a lot of weight on it. And tend use that as the reason he plays wells or doesn't

Completely agree, I'm hoping we'll see the same production if/when he moves back to the 2 and Thad moves to the 3. It's impossible to quantify which of these splits meant the most to the uptick in production, especially because the turnaround happened when so many things changed.

I think that scoring 21.8 a game for a month and a half doesn't make you a number one guy. The fact that he's done it on really good shooting is nice, of course, but I'm not sure that it's very sustainable.

Joe reply to Tray on Jan 13 at 15:20

He did score 20 per game(pretty much) last year and was pretty consistently scoring 20 a game per month.

Wait - did I miss the point where someone said Iguodala is a number one guy? He's not.

Nope. I didn't say he was a number one guy, just said that since being thrust into the number one role (when Brand went down) his efficiency numbers have gone up even more (51.7% from the floor. 1.47 points/shot). Kind of shoots down the notion that he chokes as the #1.

That isn't the whole picture of being a #1, obviously. I'd still rather have the ball in Lou or Miller's hands for the deciding possession. Especially Lou, recently. His blow-by potential opens everything up and now he's playing with his head up in those situations, finding Speights and others for easy opportunities when the defense is focused on him.

john reply to Brian on Jan 13 at 16:07

I do so dislike the 'clear out' for Iguodala - it's just not his game - i just wish more people could realize what his strengths and weaknesses were so they could realize that he's quite a good - and maybe stop focusing on how many points per game he scores :)

Tray reply to Brian on Jan 13 at 17:50

Well Lou and Miller sure aren't number ones either. I'll say it until I'm blue in the face, we're a superstar short.

john reply to Tray on Jan 13 at 18:01

Thad and possibly speights (if he can learn defense) have super star potential - not every team in teh NBA has a '#1' or a true super start - there are only about 15 true #1s in the NBA and you don't get em easily - you get lucky one way or another - and maybe thaddeus is - but the sixers and the fans need to stop trying to force titles or roles upon players for which they are unfit - like Iguodala - #1 super star - or Williams point guard

One of the keys for Iguodala is keeping down the number of jumpers he takes. The last year 72% of his shots were jumpers (eFG% 42% on jumpers.) This year he is shooting jumpers much worse (eFG% 24%) but only 64% of his shots taken are jumpers. Some of this results from getting out on the break more, but some has to do with better shot selection.

For reference, for Lebron 60% of his shots are jumpers(eFG% 41%.) for Kobe 77% of shots taken are jumpers (eFG% 46%.)

Iguodala needs a shot selection more like Lebron with more drives, and be less like Kobe in terms of relying on a jumpshot that is something less than reliable.

...It is debatable whether playing SG as opposed to SF effects how many jumpers are taken vs drives. In general SG's take a higher proportion of jumpshots, which would be a mistake for Iguodala. But there is no rule that says a SG can't drive- but it does put some pressure on his teammates to help maintain floor balance defensively when he drives. Otherwise you leave yourself open to the opponent running out off of misses.

Absolutely. I'd love to see month over month comparisons of his jump shot %. I bet it's dropped considerably.

john reply to Brian on Jan 13 at 16:31

How much is a synergy sport subscription - maybe we can set up a donation?

You know, I looked that up, but couldn't find subscription info anywhere. If anyone can find out, let me know.

Sorry, typo. Iguodala's eFG% on jumpers this year is 34%. That is bad, but not as bad as the 24% I typed.

Here's the thing that's both frustrating and slightly encouraging about Iggy, in my mind. If he hadn't regressed from three, if he was shooting the same percentage from deep that he shot last season (which was actually below his career mark) his numbers would be much more impressive:

47.6% from the floor, 17.4 ppg, 1.31 points/shot on the season.

Since Dec 1:

51.7% from the floor, 20.8 ppg, 1.41 points/shot.

If he could only get back to his career 3pt% level...

john reply to Brian on Jan 13 at 16:57

No reason to believe he's gotten that much worse at the 3 - it should balance out - regress to the mean - i mean hell wasn't he 3-4 from the 3 in a game last week :)

For anyone that cares, average production by position

With regards to scoring, SGs shoot more and they get to the line less per shot attempt. This would seem to mean they shoot more jump shots I would think as tk just said.

I would guess that one could then argue that Willie's ability to shoot jump shots at a high rate enables Iguodala to not have to worry about that as much. Whereas Thad is hesitant to shoot jump shots forcing Iguodala to take more which would hurt his productivity and the team.

In the end, Thaddeus' lack of development is once again looking like it may be a problem.

I ran Iguodala's numbers by position through the win score filter provided in that link, here are the results (again, this is just in games that he started at SG and games that he started as SF, so by no means a true measure of his production at each position, still fun, though).

Starting at SG: Iggy ave. win score = 7.07 (league average: 6.1)
Starting at SF: Iggy ave. win score = 8.8 (league average 7.3)

Paralysis by over-analysis anyone? The guy is a basketball player regardless of position designation.

There's something to be said for a lineup of Miller, Lou, Iggy, Thad and Speights. You could have 5 guys on the floor who don't really fit any defined position perfectly, but are all quality basketball players, and superb athletes. Like Nellie ball, but they defend and can't shoot :)

john reply to juice on Jan 13 at 18:07

Not even close - putting your best five on the floor is how you win and if Iguodala performs better - for whatever reason - when he plays the nominal SF position versus the SG position - it matters

Joe reply to john on Jan 13 at 18:23

If it is a nominal thing... then say hello to your 6-8 starting SG Thaddeus Young.

I'm up for it.

Ken reply to Joe on Jan 13 at 22:37

Tony DiLeo has done a great job of creating a rotation that works. Iggy not starting isn't even an option. The difference between SG and SF might be in his head. Doesn't matter, he needs to be were he fits best. The Sixers have enough interchangable players to ensure with the right combinations that everyone gets there minutes. Brand's return will decrease minutes for Speight and Evans but otherwise there should be little difference.

With regards to the need for a #1, I don't see that with this team. One of the problems from the slow start was trying to run the offense through Brand. He's not that type of dominating presence. He'll bang and get his numbers and they'll run a few plays for him.

I don't think you need a number one who's going to drop thirty once a week, but you do need a number one in the sense that you know who to give the ball to on that final possession for the win. Lou is the best option right now, and he may wind up being that guy for the long haul, if he isn't they need to find out who it is, or get a guy that can do it. The Pistons never had that dominant scorer, but you knew Chauncey was going to take the big shot, that's what I'm talking about.

I think history indicates that if you want to win a title you need a #1 - and sometimes 1 1/2 or even 2

Joe reply to john on Jan 14 at 12:37

The Pistons weren't really viewed as a team with a #1.

Anyway, I tend to agree. The top players in the NBA have a very large effect on winning... and if you don't have one of those it is hard to make up for any shortcomings like a Kendrick Perkins.

Having said that, you can do some things without a "#1." The Pistons were a top 2 team in the East for about 6 years without a "star."

Also, I don't think you can just sit around and say "We don't have a top 15 NBA player, so we can't compete" and then just give up.

john reply to Joe on Jan 14 at 13:08

The Pistons had guys starting at every position (except maybe center) who could have been all stars - and a pretty darn good bench

Additionally - they could be the exception that proved the rule.

Orlando is suddenly 'for real' - why? Cause Jameer Nelson seems to be playing the best ball of his career.

I hate to point it out - but check out utah - consistent every year with a lot of solid players - but never getting it done.

You probably can get it done with ONE star - but it has to be a top 10 (top 5) super star like a lebron or a kobe.

The sixers are still starting willie green - until you start 5 guys who SHOULD be nba starters (you can argue sam back and forth, but i think everyone agrees willie green isn't really an nba starting calibre player) -they really can't talk about 'well the pistons did it without stars' - they had really good players at almost every position and willie green probably wouldn't ahve cracked that rotation.

Yup. Two ways you could begin to mention the word Pistons in regard to the Sixers.

1. Iggy moves back to the two and excels at the position when Brand returns. Miller, Iggy, Thad, Brand, Sammy/Speights has the potential to be a very good lineup 1-5 (especially with Speights on the floor)
2. A trade for a guy like Mike Miller. Miller, Miller, Iggy, Brand, Speights with Lou and Thad as the first two off the bench.

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