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Missing the Point

Good points, Brian. I was thinking this morning that there was a reason Iguodala was paired with Durant during the scrimmages (and their teams always won), and that reason is obvious to anyone who plays pickup ball regularly: everyone wants to be on the team with the guy who plays great D, crashes the defensive boards, fills the lanes (and finishes well) on the break, and looks for the open man on offense. Conversely, no one wants to be on the team with the ball hog who doesn't get back on D, no matter how well Ball Hog shoots.

That line of thinking led to an intriguing question: if Carmelo Anthony suddenly made himself available for this team, would he be starting in place of Iguodala next to Durant? I'm really not sure. Carmelo would certainly be a better "go-to" option than Iguodala, but in most situations, that offense isn't needed if Durant and Rose are on the court. And Iguodala does almost everything else better than Carmelo (def. rebounding, passing, steals, blocks, defense, fewer turnovers). Something to think about ...

I'm not sure how Melo/Durant at the forwards would work. You'd obviously have more offensive firepower out there, and another mismatch to hopefully take advantage of, but would the team as a whole be better? I don't think so.

Durant has really impressed me, not just with the scoring, which I already knew he was exceptional at, but he's playing an all around game. The luckiest ping pong ball of the decade was probably OKC getting the #2 pick instead of #1 in that draft.

Now all we need is Turner to emerge as that legit go-to offensive guy in the half court :)

speekeasy reply to Statman on Aug 31 at 22:49

during the second half of that brazil game they definately could hae used another scoring option. Not that Iggy's not important, but Melo would probably finish games even if he didn't start them for this squad.

Good stuff, Brian. It's disappointing to see Philly.com so off, I had high hopes after hearing about the expanded sports site (don't live in Philly anymore).

Regardless, watching AI at the Worlds made me re-realize that he's by far the most important player on the Sixers. What the team really needs is a little veteran leadership, and Iggy can pick that up in spades with this international opportunity. Especially on the defensive end. If he can bring that back to Philly like you mentioned, it would be a huge boost to the younger guys, even ThadYo.

speekeasy reply to AB on Aug 31 at 23:36

it more the AP being way off about Iggy's D than philly.com

MylesKong on Aug 31 at 13:11

I'll be categorized as a hater. That's fine.

Iguadala is overpaid. I know it's common throughout the league but I don't have to except it as a Sixers fan. And yes, this has everything to do with his lackluster offense. His decision-making is consistently bad(poor passes, terrible shot attempts). There was a prevailing thought floating about that if he could just focus on attacking the rim, playing D, making plays and open shots he could be really huge for us this year. Quite frankly, you can't pay a guy as much as he gets that can't score and only plays hard defense sometimes.
Dude loses the ball damn near everytime he's goes hard to the rim. He can't control the ball or his body for that matter to protect the ball while he's on the ground. Never seen a guy with so much control once he leaves the ground and poor when he's on it. I would trade Iggy for Gay straight up(Ok, no I wouldn't, but I wouldn't be mad if it happened) I think it's much easier to improve defense than it is to improve offense. The better offensive player you are the better you know how players can attack. This allows for better anticipation. If that player has the physical tools, size and superior athletic ability. Sprinkle in some effort and strong desire to win. And you'll have a pretty good defensive player.

Iggy's defense is overrated. So is he. He needs to be trade for a young center that can develop with Jrue and Turner.

This entire post is pretty idiotic, but this struck as especially so:

"The better offensive player you are the better you know how players can attack. This allows for better anticipation."

Eddie Jordan couldn't have said it better.

MylesKong reply to Brian on Aug 31 at 13:40

Then, Eddie Jordan was right. He probably learned that from a smart coach. Fact is, if you go through the list of all-defense 1st and 2nd teamers you'll see that about 70% of them are elite offensive players.

Quick Quiz Hotshot

When he was in the league, who did Kobe Bryant say was the one of the toughest defender he had to face (here's two hints, he was on the Sixers AND he was a god awful offensive player)

If you're using Eddie Jordan and smart in the same sentence without not in there somewhere, you have an issue.

MylesKong reply to GoSixers on Aug 31 at 13:46

Bruce Bowen or Raja Bell, not sure. Both much better jumpshooters than Iggy.

MylesKong reply to GoSixers on Aug 31 at 13:49

Wait, it might have been Snow.

Snow couldn't defend, he wasn't a scorer.

MylesKong reply to Brian on Aug 31 at 14:03

Isn't the name of the game putting the ball in the basket. You don't win by rebound or assist totals. If you only take 5 shots because you have no confidence in your scoring ability, you're making it harder for your teammates.
If Iggy can't score effectively when called upon he's nothing more than a glorified role player. That's it.

No the name of the game isn't SIMPLY putting the ball in the basket, that's a simplistic argument from a simplistic person who can't defend their point any better.

I'm amazed as a basketball fan you've never heard the term defense wins championships.

Is Kendrick Perkins such an offensive force that losing him in game 7 probably cost Boston the title or is it because his defensive presence (or lack there of as it were) made it easier for the celtics.

(And yes it was eric snow)

MylesKong reply to GoSixers on Aug 31 at 14:16

Defense does win. Never seen the equivalent of 85 Villanova win the title in the NBA. Never seen a team built around a perimeter player whose strength is defense, but not a very good scorer.
Fact is, I watch the games and Iggy is not a very good player. Not at all. He's a solid complimentary piece but no one to build around.

good, the nova 85 example, that's an asinine useless example to bring up that has no bearing on the NBA

But how about them spurs championship teams, they played some pretty good defense didn't they?

Or that pistons championship a few years ago.

Seriously, Nova '85? With no shot clock? Next time how about bringing up an NBA team at least.

MylesKong reply to GoSixers on Aug 31 at 15:00

Yes, and they had arguably the best PF ever. And some very good wing scorers in Parker and Ginobli. C'mon man, that's not a very good example. Show me a team without an elite offensive player that won it. Give me the Pistons and I point out how good Rip, Billups and Sheed were back then. Oh and a team can play great defense without having a defensive specialist on the wings.

speekeasy reply to MylesKong on Aug 31 at 23:39

defense alone isn't gonna win you a chip just like offense alone isn't gonna win you chip (5 seconds or less Suns, the Nuggets especially when they had Iverson). No one-dimensional team is making it all the way through the NBA playoffs

speekeasy reply to MylesKong on Aug 31 at 22:54

decent article, pretty relevant. (talking about elite teams though)

Please don't use words like "effectively" or "efficiently" because you clearly don't know what they mean. Use phrases like "he doesn't score enough points." That's pretty much the depth of your argument. Iguodala is an effective and efficient scorer, has been his entire career. In fact, his worst season was better than Rudy Gay's best season in terms of efficiency.

OldSchoolFan reply to MylesKong on Aug 31 at 17:15

You have used the terms "efficient" and "effective" in your discussions about what makes an elite scorer. The stats say the AI9 is a very efficient scorer (points per shot). We all know he has a poor 3 point percentage, particularly last year. However, it was shown on this site several months ago that, using "Synergy" software, AI9 has a very poor (in the low 20's) percentage on 3's when shooting off the dribble, but hits almost 40% of his 3's in catch and shoot situations. Because of Jordan's offense, AI9 usually had the ball in his hands and therefore had to shoot most of the time off the dribble. A sign of good coaching is to use players in situations where they can excel. With both Holiday and Turner on the floor to handle the ball, AI9 may get to shoot more on the catch and shoot and raise his 3-point %. Kyle Korver and Jason Kapono do all their shooting on catch & shoot. Rip Hamilton does most ofhis shooting off catch & shoot. If AI9 does that will you give him credit as an excellent all-around player? Or as Brian has suggested, admit you just don't like him.

PPS is not the best efficiency market any more, eFG% or TS% is a more accepted barometer as it encompasses FGs, 3pts, and FT' all at once easily.

eFG leaves free throws out, but your point is correct.

Synergy uses PPP (points-per-play), and I'm not sure if they take FTs into account, but I believe they do. I don't have access from work, I'll take a look tonight. If they include FTs, it's just TS% in a different format (1.00 PPP = .50 TS).

Since you're using a flawed criteria for making this argument, let's see if you did the research or you're just grasping at straws:

First team:

Dwight Howard - Hardly an elite offensive player.
Rajon Rondo - Again, hardly an elite offensive player. Can't a hit jumper to save his life.
LeBron James - Elite
Kobe Bryant - Elite (and probably undeserving of this placement)
Gerald Wallace - Not even close to elite.

Second Team

Tim Duncan - Was once elite, not anymore.
Anderson Varejao - Not even close.
Dwyane Wade - Elite
Josh Smith - Not even close.
Thabo Sefolosha - Not even close.

70%, huh? Looks more like 30% to me.

MylesKong reply to Brian on Aug 31 at 13:56

Keep going.

Howard is the best center in the game. He's getting nearly 20 and 10 a night shooting 60% - Elite
Rondo took over lead role in Boston. He can't shoot a lick from outside. That's ok because he can get to the bucket and convert just as good as the best of them.
Tim Duncan -was/is? Semantics. He has the know how, that's the point.

Of this group I only counted 6. Keep going back. At the end of the day, more than half of the best defenders are elite offensive players.

So you have different definitions of elite, depending on what suits your needs. Good to know.

This is extremely tiresome. All of the nonsense you're spouting comes down to one fact, you just don't like Iguodala. Which is fine. Just save us all some time and stop using stupid arguments that can't be quantified and just say "I hate Andre Iguodala."

MylesKong reply to Brian on Aug 31 at 14:21

No I don't. Elite is offensive production for the position. I'm going to look at a point differently than I look at a 3 differently than I look at a 5.
It's cool I don't want to wear you out.

Since you're immune to rational discussion, let's see what you can do with your own type of logic:

If Iguodala sucks so bad, if he really isn't a good defender, why is he on Team USA? Why is he starting? Why is he guarding the opposing team's best scorer every game?

I mean, he's starting over Granger and Gay, two guys who you think are better offensive players, ergo, better defensive players with better anticipation. Can you explain it?

MylesKong reply to Brian on Aug 31 at 14:56

That's not quite my logic, but sure I'll take a shot. They had Kevin Durant as the other forward and Iggy compliments him better than the other guys. He was told that that how he can make the team. That's even what Doug Collins told him wants him to focus on. So that what he's doing.

I'm going to omit Granger because he doesn't have the athleticism to really excel on defense but Gay does. I think Gay could still learn how to become a very good defender because of his athletic ability. He needs to figure out a way to be better with the ball. But I can definitely see him becoming a great late-blooming defender. Actually, I think playing behind Iggy this summer will perpectuate that.

I'm glad you wrapped up your non-answer with a fictitious word, that's fitting.

Too funny, Brian. Excellent analysis. I read that article you quoted and had the impression that Iguodala really couldn't guard Barbosa, or at least had an off night. 13 3-point attempts out of 18 total? A very fast player spent most of the game on the perimeter, which is probably the thing Iguodala is most focused on. He doesn't have to deny him the ball, just keep him away from the paint.

Having Iguodala is like having an elite linebacker or cornerback in the NFL - he's a weapon.

speekeasy reply to Charlie H on Aug 31 at 23:58

Iggy did play great D on Barbosa (though in the 2nd half Leo missed a few looks that he was hitting in the 1st, but most of those looks were off loose balls, offensive rebounds, etc.) but this defensive-stopper mindset seems to have made him tentative on offense. He threw one horrible pass away after making a good steal that resulted in an immediate lay-up for Brazil when he could have dribbled the ball down the court himself. And a few times he had the ball in his hands in the half-court and instead of attacking his man he picked up his dribble and either threw the ball away or wasted time while a guard tried to cut and get open. Against Spain (and of course for the 6ers) you could see Iggy's play-making skills when he gets in the lane, sucks in the D, and sets up teammates for lay-ups or open jumpers. He needs to get that aggresiveness back for the knock-out rounds because teams like Brazil will find ways to slow down Durant and Rose in the half-court, even if only for a quarter or two, and because Iggy's on the court he may find himself with the ball in his hands.

I think it's much easier to improve defense than it is to improve offense.

Then why do players who play poor defense so rarely improve? Of course, they go from ok to good (Dr J) or great (Jordan), but piss poor defenders don't improve, because they don't have the attitude. Did George Gervin improve on the defensive side of the ball? Kiki Vandeweghe? Vince Carter? Iverson got worse. Rudy Gay & Melo will never be good defenders because they don't get in players' faces and make pests of themselves.

Whar was Igoudala's stat line yesterday?

Is Igoudala not taking shots because he's been told to be selective or because they are not there for him to take?

I haven't seen any direct quotes, my guess is that he's the fifth option on offense, and they rarely get that deep into a set.

Sorry but i forgot to ask how many of his steals led to baskets?

Not sure. Tough to tell from the play-by-play on ESPN. Two, definitely.

That's cool cheers Brian

Actually, in this last game, two of the steals led directly to two of his own turnovers. On one, he was falling out of bounds and threw it back in and Brazil recovered; on another, his outlet pass was stolen.

Regarding the halfcourt, he's usually stationed in the corner on the weakside. If the ball swings to his side, he'll run to the other side. He didn't pass up any shots in this last game other than 3's. He did get the ball once on the baseline and drove, getting fouled on the shot. On the plus side, since he has no other responsibilities on offense, he's been crashing the offensive boards much more than he does in the NBA, and he got two important ones in the 4th quarter.

I believe Iguodala is being under-utilized in the halfcourt for Team USA, because his ability to penetrate and dish would lead to easier baskets (it happened once or twice in the first game). If he's just standing in a corner waiting to shoot 3's, he becomes a liability. He was used that way in a few of the Iverson games last year, which was painful to watch. Hopefully, Iguodala will use this opportunity to improve his movement without the ball.

speekeasy reply to Statman on Sep 1 at 0:02

Damn didn't see your post before I wrote mine. Well said. Putting Iggy in the corner is a waste. They should let him create more.

Yeah I agree Iguodala's effect on the games is under appreciated. Last year he finished the season with a D-Mult. of 0.91 so bascially the players he was guarding had almost a 10% drop off from their average offensive production. And when you consider that he did this for a team that finished 24th in the league in overall defensive rating, quite an impressive performance by Mr. Iguodala. I'd hate to see what the Sixers' defense looked like without him.

If Iguodala wanted to take more shots he could within Team USA. Against Slovenia he was 5-7 in 14 minutes I believe 11 points. They were all on fast breaks due to good rebounding and defense. If that isn't efficient I can't tell you what is.

deepsixersuede on Aug 31 at 18:17

Statman, I may be wrong but a few years back during an Iggy at the 2 or 3 discussion I think you stated defensively Iggy was weaker at the 2 because of him having trouble dealing with screens on the perimeter.

He is getting a baptism by fire with all the picknrolls the Euros run and this can!t help but improve that part of his game.

Suede, you remembered correctly, and I think he's generally been doing a decent job getting through the screens. Of course, he has more energy to play D on this team since he does so little on offense (kind of like his rookie season). It does make you wonder what Iguodala's ceiling is on defense if that were his primary focus.

It's pretty amazing that he, and not one of the guards, was matched up with Barbosa. To be sure, Barbosa is not what he once was; otherwise, even Iguodala would have had trouble staying with him.

Rich reply to Statman on Aug 31 at 19:51

The pick and roll defense has been awful as well from the bigs. Odom, who should be great at it, plays off and lets the guard have a running start. Kevin Love has no footspeed and Tyson Chandler does the best job, but he fouls a lot. Their help D has been great and covers the initial P and R coverage. Iguodala is a guy who covers this up when he doesn't guard the best guy.

WhiteCake on Aug 31 at 19:29

It does make me wonder what the ceiling on Iggy's defense is. That's why adding a primary scoring threat on the perimeter next to AI9 only amplifies his value, which currently is much higher on the defensive end. As said before, the additional energy he'll have on defense without the pressure of having to be the go to scoring option at the other end can only improve his game. I'm hoping that Turner can be that scoring compliment to him. I was a little down on Iggy this past year, but I like how he fits into the 3 spot on this team a lot better, especially with the two young guards.
I haven't paid super close attention to stats but one thing I've noticed watching the team play over the past few years is that they rarely give up a big scoring night to the opposing team's best player, and it seems like we can attribute that in large part to AI9. I don't have any problem with calling him a top tier defensive player in this league, and I think having better players around him will only increase his value.

I actually pulled together some stats on what Iguodala did to opposing teams' best scorer back in 2009. You can check it out here, pretty impressive. I don't think he's top 10 in the league anymore, though.

WhiteCake reply to Brian on Aug 31 at 22:07

Thanks for the link. I'm glad that my claim was for the most part legitimate. What impressed me most was that AI9 actually outscored his opponents in the large majority of the games. I think this alone could support an argument that he is a vital part of this team.

Anyone else see Iggy's comment that Durant will finish his career as the all time leading scorer in the NBA? Two things:

First, I agree. If Durant stays healthy and plays until he's 35 at a high level he can do it.

Secondly, this says a lot about Iguodala's mindset. He's on Team USA to be the stopper. He knows it, he embraces it, and I think he likes it. On the offensive end all he's asked to do is cut to the hoop and finish in spectacular ways on fast breaks. Being number three or four option on our team wouldn't be a problem for him at all. I'd love to see Turner take the offensive lead, with Jrue, Speights/Brand the numbers two and three.

I approve of Iggy when a reporter asked him about his lack of scoring so far, he said "you from Philly?"

Awesome. And so true. Even if the Philly media misunderstands the type of player he is and the general fans don't get him, I don't care. He's insanely under appreciated.

TruePhan on Sep 2 at 20:31

If you want the real truth behind Iguodala's stats for the Sixers, check out how different Iguodala's play is when Lou Williams is on the floor. Iguodala kept having to chuck it up or make quick decisions because Lou wasted so much of the shot clock by trying to play point guard when he's incapable of it. He's like AI without any of the talent or ability to not miss easy layups/shots.

Hell, check out how less efficient the team is in general when Lou is on the floor. A lot of Jrue Holiday's turnovers were Lou's fault, and same with Iguodala's turnovers. Everybody constantly has to play help D for Lou because he just goes for steals and doesn't care if people blow by him, while he backs off of shooters like an arrogant high schooler does. Then, as I mentioned before, on offense he wastes so much clock trying to be "the man" when everybody knows Jrue should be running the point and Iguodala is the facilitator. Lou messes everything up on both offense and defense, and when he's on the bench this team runs its offense very smoothly and is pretty damn good defensively. It's like having a leak in a dam when he's on the floor.

Trade Lou Williams and this team wins 40-50 games last year. Dalembert used to be a problem too but he's gone.

Only in the current NBA can guys like Rondo and Lou Williams who miss uncontested layups, make horrible decisions, can't pass to save their lives, and play no D be so overhyped.

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