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An Appreciation for Iguodala's Defense

One more thing that I stupidly forgot to add. I loved this quote from Collins preseason:

"If you viewed the basketball court as the lane is our house, inside the three-point line is the yard, outside is the fence. We want to chase people inside the fence, make them play in the yard, and keep them out of the house. If we make them make two-point shots against us, not in the paint, we think we have a good chance to defend well."

Notice where those last two shots were taken from?

Great job. Those are two examples of plays that pretty much no other SF in the league makes on the defensive end. He read every move Manu was trying to make and beat him to the spot, every time. Manu gets feet of space to take that shot against other SFs, not inches, but feet.

And Maggette put his head down and drove full speed to the hoop, Iguodala was with him every step of the way in a backpedal, just waiting to see the ball and strip it. Brilliant defense.

Watching the Spurs game, I was amazed that Iguodala didn't overplay Ginobili to his left (Ginobili's strong side) but instead was ready for his behind-the-back dribble to the right. After the game, Iguodala mentioned something about knowing guys' go-to moves, and he certainly showed it then.

There was one other Iguodala defensive stop that bears mentioning, and few people will remember it. In the game in Denver, with about 3 minutes left and the Sixers holding a 1-point lead, Iguodala switched onto Billups (who had torched the Sixers to that point) and played at least 10 seconds of isolation defense on him, eventually forcing a pass and a 24-second violation (the Nuggets initially made a basket but it was waved off upon review). In a season of great defensive plays, that might have been the most impressive one ...

I could really care less if he get nominated to the 1st or 2nd team All Defense. He has really done nothing to separate himself from the R. Bell's and S. Battier's of the league for the first 40 games. Where was he last week versus NY when L. Fields had a carreer day? Let's not forget the plays against Cleveland and Orlando that cost us those games.

The same national media that you want to take notice of his stellar defense are the same people who expected Iguodala to have a All Star season. So far he hasn't done much to prove he was worthy of such high expectations.

What he's done to distinguish himself from Battier is he hasn't allowed Melo to drop fifty on his face. As for Raja Bell, ask Manu who did a better job defending him, Bell or AI9. And he wasn't guarding Landry Fields.

This isn't about Iguodala's defense for you, all you do is gripe about him not scoring 20PPG, and nothing else matters. His offense is irrelevant in this discussion, even though it's been better than you give him credit for.

deepsixersuede on Feb 15 at 7:31

Rich, good job; I think winning now and coach K's praise over the summer combine to put him in the spotlight but the icing on the cake comes playoff time. Every possible opponent offers him an opponent to add to his list, and who better than Lebron to seal the deal.

Tk, I love your lists; could you whip one up for me? Rank the players Iggy's age and younger as far as stars in the league, and if Iggy is top ten I would feel better about our future, thanks!!

Here you go:

Players Iguodala's age or younger sorted by WS/48 (minimum, 30 min/game.) Iguodala is #18- just after Westbrook, Rondo, Milsap and Griffin and ahead of Galli, Deng and Curry. WS/48 is not perfect, but it gives you a sense of how good a player is.

tk76 reply to tk76 on Feb 15 at 9:22

Iguodala is in the middle of his prime. So if he stays healthy expect him to be in the same range for several years. For every older vet he surpasses (say Kobe in 3 years) there will likely be a young guy who passes him (Harrison Barnes?.)

Also, there have been quite a few players who get derailed by injuries at about 500-600 games into their careers. And Iguodala started with his Achilles problem right about 500 games.

tk76 reply to tk76 on Feb 15 at 9:24

Looking at this list, you could argue that Iguodala is close to #10 in terms of overall player.

tk76 reply to tk76 on Feb 15 at 9:31

5 Clearly better:

5 Arguably better:

Debate (different skill-sets:
Josh Smith

tk76 reply to tk76 on Feb 15 at 9:32

So that puts him somewhere from #11 to #22, depending on where you rank Iguodala against players in the debatable list.

I could really care less if he get nominated to the 1st or 2nd team All Defense. He has really done nothing to separate himself from the R. Bell's and S. Battier's of the league for the first 40 games. Where was he last week versus NY when L. Fields had a carreer day? Let's not forget the plays against Cleveland and Orlando that cost us those games.

The same national media that you want to take notice of his stellar defense are the same people who expected Iguodala to have a All Star season. So far he hasn't done much to prove he was worthy of such high expectations.

It looks like you're begging for a response since you posted this twice, so I'll give you one. I'd have to say, even for a vocal and constant Iguodala critic such as yourself, the amount of negativity you managed to squeeze into this post is impressive. Unfortunately, almost all of it is wrong.

He has really done nothing to separate himself from the R. Bell's and S. Battier's of the league for the first 40 games.

Rich listed the evidence in his post, and you chose to ignore it. Iguodala this year has held Kobe Bryant to his season low (9 points), Joe Johnson to his season low (6 points), Granger to his season low (7 points), Carmelo to his 2nd-lowest point total (12 points), and Paul Pierce to two of his five worst performances (10 and 11 points). Iguodala has saved two games with defensive stops in isolation situations at the end of the game, in a year when the Sixers have struggled to get any kind of defensive stops in end-of-game situations. Iguodala hasn't had any outright poor defensive performances all year, and his below-average performances have been few and far between (I can think of Granger in the game when Iguodala returned from injury, Deng in the Chicago blowout, and maybe one or two other 20-point games allowed).

Raja Bell and Shane Battier have both been below league average this year in opponent PER, and they are perfect examples of players whose defensive reputations exceed their current performance. Artest is another. At last check, Iguodala was top 5 at his position, top 10 in the league in opponent PER.

Where was he last week versus NY when L. Fields had a career day?

Iguodala was on the court, holding yet another high scorer, Gallinari, to 10 points. Are you seriously going to blame him for not guarding someone else's man? While you're at it, why not blame Iguodala for Ray Allen scoring 22 in the last Celtics game while Iguodala was holding Pierce to 11?

Let's not forget the plays against Cleveland and Orlando that cost us those games.

Which Cleveland loss are you blaming on Iguodala? The first loss, where he got hurt at halftime and didn't play in the 2nd half, and the Sixers gave up points on something like 15 straight possessions in the 4th quarter? Or the second loss, where he didn't play?

I'll concede that putting his hand near Richardson in the Orlando game wasn't a smart play, whether it was a foul or not. But one poor play doesn't come close to negating a season's worth of excellent defense. The fact that some Sixer fans who watch every Sixer game won't give him credit for it is honestly mind-boggling.

tk76 reply to Statman on Feb 15 at 9:37

But to be fair, Iguodala's bad body language and poor choice of suit played in big factor in that second Cleveland loss.

If he wasn't hurt for half the season (not only the games he missed but also the ones when he was clearly hurting) he would have had a realistic shot at making the allstar team. The only real obstacle really is team record...

Rich reply to KellyDad on Feb 15 at 12:16

Man, I hope you really didn't mean all of that. Landry Fields was being guarded by Meeks, Turner, etc. He can't guard five guys, and that was kind of the point.

Cleveland game? The one where Boobie Gibson and Mo Williams killed the Sixers at the end? He hurt his Achilles in the 3rd Quarter in that one and didn't return, actually.

The Orlando game? Alright, let's kill him for one bad mistake.

Bell and Battier both are shells of the player he is on both ends of the floor right now.

Tom Moore on Feb 15 at 8:45

Video: Iguodala on facing the surging Grizzlies, overcoming team's slow start and Holiday in rookie-sophomore game:


Tom Moore on Feb 15 at 8:52

Story: Iguodala says he's unfazed by upcoming trade deadline:


guruvoodoo on Feb 15 at 9:15

A couple possessions before the airball, Gino picked up his dribble at the top of the key. Twice, Gino tried to bring the ball around front to pass it and both times 'Guo got a hand on the ball and nearly stripped Gino naked. When Gino finally got rid of the rock, Dre tipped it and Gino was lucky it fell to a SAS player.

Total denial, Cirque du Soleil-style. Utter.

THEN, a couple possessions later, came the airball to close the argument for the Dre-fence.

Tom Moore on Feb 15 at 9:25

Grizzlies present Sixers with a challenge:


I'd still trade Iggy for Gay.

Does Iggy's Point forward play make Jrue expendable now? Would you be willing to trade Jrue if right offer came around?

I'd be willing to trade anyone if the right offer came around, but no, I don't think he's expendable. And the Iguodala/Rudy debate isn't even as close as it was the last time these teams met.

I factor in Jrue's lack of stats when deciding why i'd want Gay over Iguodala. That's why Iggy's nice play recently isn't exciting me.

And i factor Gay's contract in the reasoning why i don't want to have anything to do with him, let alone trade for him for Iguodala.

1 year extra for a player that is 31 months younger than Iguodala.

So where exactly would you play this guy who isn't better than Iguodala? Who probably doesn't fit on the sixers roster as well as Brand right now? Who is your point guard?

Giving up on Holiday now for an over paid guy like Rudy Gay is foolishness

hehe. I'd trade Iggy for Gay. Didn't mention Jrue for Gay.

wanted to know though if people would be willing to move JRue now, he was untouchable a month back.

That's even worse, you'd trade the better player (and cheaper player) for the lesser player.

Mis-read what you wrote

And no, Jrue is still untouchable to me, one month isn't reason to get rid of a guy.

1 extra year, $24.5M more dollars for Gay, who is a lesser player.

it's like an Emperor-has-no-clothes situation where you wonder why everyone can't see it especially since it's not something that comes and goes but he brings it every night.

Stat-geek question. It looks like the opponent PER stat on 82 games is just the game PER of Iguodala's counterpart. It's not the actual PER when Iguodala's in the game, right? That's what I would be most interested in: PER (since it's mostly an offensive stat) when being guarded by Iguodala versus season PER. Any way to get that?

82games.com is opaque in how they calculate certain things. Someone asked them for an explanation a while back, and I believe they said the per against on the team page was specifically who he was guarding when he was in the game, while the PER on the individual page is just the counterpart at the same position, again when he was in the game, but I'm not 100% sure. I don't think anyone is.

Statman tracked PER and PER against for a game earlier this season, check back in the archives.

Does anyone have Iguodala's Synergy stats? I saw these Synergy stats on Dirk today and found them shocking:

What will really shock you, however, is Dirk's defense. He's allowing just 29% FG shooting in the post. He's certainly not defending top-level post players, but that's still incredible for a guy often criticized for his defense. Same with isolation, where he's allowing just 36.4% shooting. (Numbers courtesy of Synergy Sports.)

Yeah, I've got it.

Overall: 0.71 points allowed per possession. 9th in the league. Opponents shoot 33.9% against him.

Isolation: 0.72 ppp, 36.4%

P&R Ballhandler: 0.62 ppp, 30.8%

Post up: 0.71 ppp, 26.3%

P&R roll man: 0.75 ppp, 34.1%

spot-up: 0.79 ppp, 34.1%

off screen: 0.77 ppp, 39.6%

Tray reply to Brian on Feb 15 at 12:58

That's ridiculously good. Who, I wonder, are the top 8?

Rich reply to Tray on Feb 15 at 13:00

My guess is guys who don't play much iso defense.

If I had to venture a guess, I'd say the top 8 are mostly guys who don't guard LeBron and Kobe.

Tray reply to Brian on Feb 15 at 13:02

So not actually 8 great unsung defenders.

Rudy Gay is #127 at 0.85.

Ron Artest is #62 at 0.80.

Kobe is #218 at 0.90

LBJ is #34 at 0.78

Wade is tied with Artest at 0.80

Thabo is #271 at 0.93

Landry Fields is #287 at 0.94

I can't really think of anyone else who's considered a wing stopper, some of those guys aren't.

Ariza is #169 at 0.88

Manu is #62 at 0.80

Dwight Howard is #136 at 0.86

Paul Pierce is #94 at 0.82

who else?

Batum is #391 at 1.06

I've gone through about 50 or 60 names. LBJ is the only other guy I've found below 0.80.

Tray reply to Brian on Feb 15 at 13:41

I guess there's always the great Keith Bogans. And, um, Raja Bell.

Tayshaun Prince: 0.79, #48
Raja Bell: 0.96, #320
Keith Bogans: 0.93, #271

How about Holiday and Brand :). Maybe they are the one that are better than Iguodala.

Others worth checking:

Mbah a Moute

Tray reply to Brian on Feb 15 at 13:51

Maybe these top 8 just don't exist.

Or are guys who have played 100 minutes on the season... Combined :)

Tray reply to Xsago on Feb 15 at 14:07

Damn, can't Synergy filter for minutes?

I'm sure the full version can filter for anything, but as far as I can tell, I have to look up each player individually.

Court_visioN reply to Brian on Feb 15 at 13:47

hows Pierce?

Pierce is above.

Mbah a Moute: .89
Duncan: .87
Noah: .94
Garnett: .85
Paul: .83
Deron Williams: .91
Jrue: .88
Kirilenko: .91
Melo: .95
Wes Matthews: .90
Rondo: .80

Too bad i don't have insider...

Hollinger has taken notice of the Sixers for a while now. I guess the other ESPN writers will follow. We could use some media attention.

Rich reply to Ryan F on Feb 15 at 14:44

Johnny loves Jrue.

He hates jazz though

Tray reply to GoSixers on Feb 15 at 15:01

And Keith Law hates good books. He'll write in a chat that Harry Potter is underrated as honest-to-God great literature, but Henry James's sentences are too long. Then he's a Harvard grad so he thinks that gives him authority to pontificate on anything. Have you ever looked at those things? The prose is like Kate Fagan's when she was starting out at the Inquirer.

WOn't post the whole thing - I don't like to do that from pay places - but wanted to post this paragraph - because he makes an important point regarding the big picture (I think) of player development.

Meanwhile, Holiday could be truly special. He has been inconsistent from game to game, but the big-picture result is that The Jruth is a solid NBA starting point guard at just 20 years old. He's big, athletic and a better shooter than advertised; he just needs to figure things out. Defensively, especially, his potential is enormous.

One more piece - re evan turner

Although he's shown some mild signs of improvement lately, the Sixers would have a few more wins if they'd gone in a different direction.

Any rational thinking folk have an idea who the sixers could have picked at #2 that would have given them a few more wins this year? I mean Favors, Cousins, Johnson definitely leading their teams to an extra couple wins each aren't they?

One more piece - I couldn't resist

Granger is a nice No. 2 but out of his depth as a leading man.

tk76 reply to GoSixers on Feb 15 at 15:58

Sounds like a constant refrain for someone else...

Hence why it's there.

There seemed to be a lot of Pro Granger for Iguodala folk thinking Granger was a vast upgrade at one point

Tray reply to GoSixers on Feb 15 at 16:20

Surely even Brian would take Cousins over Hawes. I think that's a couple wins. I think Ed Davis would actually be worth a win or two, not that I think he was at all worthy of that high a pick.

Assuming Cousins actually saw the floor, which I don't think is a given with Collins, no, I don't think he would've added any wins to the Sixers.

According to Synergy, he's scoring 0.79 points-per-possession, 346th in the league, that number is even worse in the post at 0.71.

Hawes does more with his possessions in the post than Cousins (0.75 ppp). And Cousins uses up a ton of possessions at that pathetic efficiency rating.

Tray reply to Brian on Feb 15 at 17:48


He's a solid rebounder, doesn't make up for the rest, though.

Court_visioN reply to GoSixers on Feb 15 at 16:21

Haha, I like how ESPN is using "The Jruth" nickname for Jrue.

In the realm of 'all trades are stuck in the pipeline until carmelo gets out of the way', there may have been an interesting (and castrating to the GM & coach) development.

There's a rumored deal on the table that the GM & Coach of the knicks don't approve of but Dolan (who we all know is a keen basketball mind) might over rule it.

The Nuggets, according to a source, are asking for three starters - including Danilo Gallinari and Raymond Felton - plus Eddy Curry's expiring contract and at least one first-round pick. In that proposed deal, Anthony and veteran point guard Chauncey Billups would be coming to the Knicks

tk76 reply to GoSixers on Feb 15 at 16:01

Melo/Amare/Billups is a nice core. Probably could make some noise for a couple of years. Then they'd have to build around Amre/Melo but without any cap space.

PG: Billups
SG: Douglas? (have to figure Fields is in the deal)
SF: Melo
PF: Amare
C: Mozgov

Depends on how much billups has left in the tank, and I don't think there's much. I don't think they scare anyone in the playoffs, though they would have two guys to get calls once the playoffs come.


I disagree that the nuggets get felton galinari AND fields - that seems like a bit much

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