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Andre Iguodala: Subtle Improvement

deepsixersuede on May 19 at 7:56

Brian, his left hand, to me,was his biggest improvement this year.O ne stat that worries me,2 years in a row at 72% from the foul line, that is a trend that can!t continue.

Iguodala refined his offensive game this yera- making better decisions. That is why his FG% improved although his outside shooting did not. He settled less for the jumper.

He dramatically improved his ability to get and finish inside shots with the half court offense. He has really added a left hand.

His ratio of inside shots vs settling for jumpers has gotten better this year. 36% of his shots this year were inside shots, which is much better than only 28% last year. For comparison sake, here is the the shot selection numbers for some other other players:

% of total shots taken “inside” per 82games.com
Kobe: 21%
Pierce: 27%
Wade: 34%
Iguodala: 36% (in 2007 was 28%)
Lebron: 36%

The message being that Iguodala is not settling for jumpers, and is getting inside (where is finishing % is among the tops in the NBA, even excluding dunks.)

Granted, I’m not sure if these stats are effected by fast break points (site does not say, just listed as “shot selection”), but either way, an improved area of Iguodalas’ game.

BTW Inside shot % with and without including dunks:
Kobe: .599/.655
Pierce: .528/.547
Wade: .590/.659
Iguodala: .565/.721 (in 2007 was .493/.690)
Lebron: .648/.718

You can see Iguodala’s inside finshing % is tops amongst these stars. Part of this is that he finishes inside with dunks at a higher percentage of the time than the other players. Either way, very good stuff by Iguodala.

I think Iguodala is very underrated as a player, overall. However, he tends to be very sloppy w/ the ball and needs to tighten up that part of his game. I know I tend to think he should hit 100% of all his shots so I will not address that thought!

I just get very frustrated w/ him w/ his sloppy passes to his team mates.

Sean reply to DeanH on May 19 at 11:00

Yeah, sometimes he can try some very risky passes. IMO, His teammates do a very poor job of getting open, plus the offensive scheme tends to have him in a Screen/Roll with Evans or Sam where he's getting doubled or tripled and has to make a pass to a man who does not present a good target. I figure you get better floor spacing and more shooters, we will see less sloppy passes

john reply to Sean on May 19 at 11:03

That's my biggest issue with him, he's got some real good court vision but often tries the fancier pass when the simpler pass may not make the highlight but is more likely to get the 2. He really needs to work on that

Sean reply to john on May 19 at 11:17

I agree, but that is youth. Plus, I guess he wants all those people who believe the team is "boring" to be surprised.

I remember Barkley talking about one of the major reasons he loved playing in All-Star games is that All-Stars tend to be to play the game a couple steps ahead, to anticipate and make the right move in advance.
I'd love to see Iguodala play with guys who can think ahead that next couple of steps. The closest he has come on this team is his time with Miller. You can see it with those baseline backdoor passes they like so much. Brand can be that guy, Thad with his hoops IQ could become that guy too.

That is one reason why I like Maynor and/or Curry in the draft. Both of them are rated as having high game IQs.

john reply to Sean on May 19 at 11:20

His fifth (sixth? I can never keep it straight) year in the league - it shouldn't be 'youth' any more - age is different in the NBA - yeah he's only like 25 - but he's a veteran...he's one of the senior most players on the team right now and the guy who has been on the roster the most who matters the most...he's been making the same bad 'showy' passes his whole career here...it's past time for it to stop - the coaches gotta get him to work on it.

great point guards make the guys with the average basketball IQs look better than they actually are...

Sean reply to john on May 19 at 11:26

I agree that he is now a Vet, but this is only his 3rd season of being a top threat and actually seeing doubles. Yes, I agree, he gambles on passes way too much, and he tries to get too cute. Those will likely go away(especially if we get Thibodeau or Turner) with time.

That being said, he is still growing as a player. He is beginning to enter his prime and when you start to see subtle refinements and smoothing out of the rougher edges.

DeanH reply to Sean on May 19 at 11:21

I agree some of the passes were due to sloppy playing or dumb playing by his team mates but I think alot are on AI himself. I rememember him passing to one covered by the other team numerous times. Just dumb.

ON the other hand, what can we expect w/ over 1/3 of his team being absolutely incompentent (Green and Sammy). Correct!

Sean reply to DeanH on May 19 at 11:37

Yeah, I get you. I just would really like to see him in a better offensive system though, rather then watching him in constant Screen/Rolls with Evans and being hard-doubled while Sam stands near Evans in the lane allowing his man to guard both of them. Or seeing him in a post-up, and watching Green and Sam flash right down the middle into the area where he was making his move.

Yes, this is something he definitely needs to worry about. Check out these turnover rates for other non-points who do a lot of distributing on their teams:

Iguodala: 13.9%
LeBron: 11.0%
Kobe: 9.7%
Wade: 11.6%
Joe Johnson: 11.0%
Caron Butler: 14.3%
Brandon Roy: 9.0%

That and free throw percentage are things that should be simple improvements to make. The 3-point percentage is a little more complex, and may never get corrected.

Sean reply to Brian on May 19 at 11:34

Not to make excuses for Dala, I look at those numbers and I think about the players and the type of teams and systems they use and the only guy who really saw Dala's level of consistent congestion in their spacing was Butler, due to all the injuries. The other players had better spacing due to being on the floor with shooters and/or bigs who could find seams and finish.

I am not saying he does not need improvement in this area, he most certainly does. I would say that it is much easier to throw passes to players like DFisher, Gasol, Mo Williams, Z, Sideshow Varejao, Aldridge, Blake, Bibby, Horford, Beasley, James Jones, Haslem, O'Neal. Those guys know how to get open and finish.

I think Wade's surrounding cast wasn't appreciably better than Iguodala's. Otherwise, I agree.

john reply to Brian on May 19 at 11:41

Wades more of a ball hog :)

Sean reply to Brian on May 19 at 12:02

As complete players, I would probably agree with you. But I would say that as far as hoops IQ goes, Wade had Haslem, O'Neal for half the year, Marion for the other half, Beasley for his bigs. Those are guys who know when and how to get out of the way, to set a screen, to roll or pop out for a jumper or to find a seam and present a target. For a slasher, not a bad group of players. Plus, the team featured several deep shooters(Jones, Quinn, kid from Ohio State etc, Beasley was hitting 3's as well, Chalmers), which meant more spacing. Meanwhile, Dala is playing with Sam, Theo, Evans and M16. Other than M16, not a very savvy offensive group, though Theo is half-way decent. However, Sam and Reggie make Theo look like Bill Walton.

I agree w/ Sean on this one. He does make some risky passes, but overall it is not a huge weakness like his jump/FT shooting is.

I agree he can improve and cut down on some high risk passes, but overall his A/TO ratio is good for a high assist non PG. Lebron's is off the charts, but the rest of the players with 5+ assists who are not PG's have A/TO ratios similar or worse than Iguodala.

I've followed Iggy all the way from Arizona until now and one thing that you brought up just jumped into my head.

His best games at Arizona, when he was flirting with triple doubles, were when he was attacking the rim and not standing outside and worrying about his shot. Drawing the defenders, kicking it out, dumping it down, defenders would sag off and he could knock the mid range J in.

I see a lot of Latrell Spreewell in Iggy, minus the crazy stuff. If he gets back to attack, attack, attack, his numbers will start to come up, but so will his turnovers, because he will get back into trying to do too much. If that makes sense.

He has attacked the lane a lot more this year. As I listed in my 1st post, the percentage of shots taken inside has jumped from 28% to 36% this year. That is a huge improvement when compared to similar players.

Sean reply to The GM on May 24 at 14:10

What's ironic about your mention of Spreewell it reminded me JVG using Spree at the point with Houston at the 2. I wonder if Thibodeau, as the Sixers coach, might go for a similar look, to get the best available players on the floor.

As anyone can surmise from reading my commentary on Deep Sixer, I'm also one of Iguodala's biggest supporters. A few stats in addition to those mentioned above ... His 72% on inside shots was #1 in the entire NBA. I noticed that he improved at finishing after contact, contributing to the high inside pct. His on-off stats are off the charts, contributing to top 10-15 ratings in advanced stats on sites like 82games and Basketball Prospectus. Last year, the Sixers actually outscored their opponents when he was not on the court; this year they got crushed when he wasn't playing (which thankfully wasn't often, because he led the league in minutes played). His opponent production number went from average last year (14.7) to top ten in the league this year (13.0). And the team's defensive eFG% with him not on the court was worse by 3.8% (this was the 2nd highest drop in the NBA, just behind Camby).

Regarding his passing, he actually set a career high in assist-to-turnover ratio (around 2), and his assist-to-bad-pass ratio was actually a decent 4.4 (to compare to the other players in Brian's list: Wade 4.4, LeBron 5.2, Kobe 4.0, Joe Johnson 6.3, Butler 2.9, Roy 6.0). Miller was not much higher at 5.1. I would think that where Iguodala makes more turnovers than the others is that he gets stripped on drives more (probably because he drives more, period). By the way, I haven't checked closely, but I would also guess that all of Iguodala's passing stats took a hit once Thad went down (the 10-turnover game happened then, for example) -- not only because Thad is the next-best finisher on the team but because Thad's presence provided better floor spacing. Overall, Iguodala's could be a little more careful with his passes, but I would say his passing was one of the strengths of the team last year.

Most importantly, Iguodala is NOT a selfish player (his drop in PPG and PER came almost entirely from a drop in shot attempts, which came about mainly because Thad got more attempts). I would argue that Thad and Dalembert were much better players when Iguodala was on the court, because Iguodala would look for them (Dalembert made a telling statement in the middle of the season, that Iguodala was the only one who passed the ball to him). As I've mentioned before, I didn't always get that impression (unselfishness) about Miller, but I'll leave that for the Miller post.

The biggest area in his game where improvement is needed, as others have mentioned, is free throw shooting. I just want to know where the 82% from 06-07 went ...

Finally, one area where Iguodala improved considerably this year (especially the 2nd half of the year) was performance in the clutch. He went through a long stretch where he scored on nearly every "must-have" possession at the ends of games. Many of his critics last year claimed he wasn't a go-to guy, but his performance this year says otherwise. Also, many more of his critics said that he disappeared in the playoffs last year, whereas this year he mostly dominated his matchup with Turkoglu, offensively and defensively. So what I see is that Iguodala's career is still on the upward arc, and my opinion is that it would be a grave mistake to trade him (as so many want to do).

This time last year someone asked me if I thought Thad would be a better all around player than Iguodala in two years. At the time, I couldn't really answer one way or another, but I thought he had a legit shot. Right now, I think it's a stretch to say that he'll ever reach Iguodala's level on defense, as a playmaker, or as a rebounder. If this team absolutely must trade one of its wings, and I don't think they're anywhere near that point right now, Iguodala isn't the one who should go. Or at least he isn't the one I'd trade.

To be clear, I wouldn't trade either of them, but Iguodala is my untouchable guy on this team right now.

As much as anyone is untouchable.

DeanH reply to Brian on May 19 at 21:27

Agree with you and Stateman 100%. Was not trying to be critical about Andre I passing, but often he just seemed to throw the ball away to another team member, from the outside, not driving. However, after thinking about it, I realize that the recievers have alot to do w/ it I am sure.

I definitely would not trade Andre I, would consider trading Thad IF we got a top guard in exchange.

I do not see Thad surpassing Andre ever. I believe Andre will continue to improve and will be one of the top NBA players in the next couple years (and given credit for it too!).

Sean reply to Brian on May 20 at 10:43

I think Thad could get close to Dala's level on D and as a rebounder, but his primary gift will be scoring. Makes for a great complement to Dala whose best skill is playmaking

Great post. Chock full of good stats that are relevant.

Just like last year, his PER differential at SF is off the charts (+8.) This is one of the best measures of whether he outplays his opponent.

PER differential at SF (per 82games.com)

Iguodala +8.2
Young +2.6
Pierce +5.7
Butler: +3
Turkoglu +3
Durant: +8
RJ: +3.4
Melo: +8.2

Lebron: +20.8 (now that is SICK!)

By position the Sixers are 3rd in the NBA at SF at +5, behind only Cleveland and nearly tied with Denver.

Statman reply to tk76 on May 19 at 18:28

Yeah, as good an all-around player as Iguodala is, LeBron is better at nearly everything -- which is why comparisons of players in the NBA this year usually begin, "Other than LeBron ...." I'm interested to see how well Pietrus does against LeBron in the ECF (Iguodala had a lot more problems with Pietrus' defense than Turkoglu's).

Tom Moore on May 19 at 16:58

Playoffs were much better than the year before. Would like him to upgrade his jumper and handle, which would make him an all-star level player.

Jumper yes, I think his handle is better than he's given credit for.

Avoid the horrendous start in '09-10 and he makes his first all star team. Or at least he should.

Here's what I'd call an alternate view of reality, for anyone interested.

Seriously - that's the guy who is part of the true hop network

A lot of people out there are syaing 'look lou's PPG went up so he was better'

i voimt

Apparently it's who you know, not what you know to get into the TrueHoop Network. Poor representation of the good Sixers blogging going on.

Seriously - that's the guy who is part of the true hop network

A lot of people out there are syaing 'look lou's PPG went up so he was better'

i voimt

deepsixersuede on May 19 at 19:02

Offense [c+] defense [f, and very incomplete].

I am a fan of Lou and I give him a C on offense and a D- on defense. Imagine what my grade would be if I was one of the typical bloggers in Philly!

I do expect Lou to work very hard this summer and expect his grades to be atleast a B on offense and a C on defense next year.

"He's the guy they gameplan to stop. It speaks to his nature as a smart basketball player that he has never tried to force himself into that role."

I think he has a few times, most notably in the playoffs against Detroit.

Fair point. I was mainly speaking about this season, when he very, very rarely forced himself into that role.

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