Andre Iguodala Gets No Respect

Andre Iguodala might be the Rodney Dangerfield of the NBA. No, really. He’s the best player on the team with the best efficiency differential in the league. Most players in that situation get serious MVP attention. But Iguodala wasn’t voted to start in the all-star game, and most prominent media analysts don’t think he even deserves a spot on the all-star team at all (for example, see here and here). No, despite putting up heroically consistent, solid numbers for his entire career, Iggy has never been on an All-Star team or an All-NBA Team. He also got snubbed in the 2006 Slam Dunk Contest when Nate Robinson got the trophy after taking hundreds of attempts to complete his dunks. Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony continues to rack up all-star starts despite habitually shooting bad shots, taking every night off on defense, losing consistently, and frankly, not playing exciting basketball (ok, I admit this is entirely subjective, but I just can’t see how shooting tough shots is exciting, especially when the majority don’t go in). After all, isn’t excitement what the all-star game is about? Before we go into the numbers, allow Iggy to make his all-star case on excitement alone:

Of course, just because a player throws down thunderous dunks doesn’t make him a great player. So let’s look at the numbers:

Player: Iguodala Carmelo Average SF
eFG% 0.502 0.431 0.477
FT% 0.608 0.827 0.767
STL48 2.4 1.5 1.6
AST48 7.1 5.8 3.3
TO48 2.6 4.2 2.5
ORB48 1.4 1.8 1.7
DRB48 7.8 6.5 5.6
BLK48 0.7 0.6 0.8
PF48 1.8 3.6 3.4
STL:TO 0.92 0.36 0.64
Net Poss 9.00 5.60 6.40
Points!48 17.6 31.2 19.1
WP48 0.269 0.059 0.099

So you mean to tell me Iguodala is statistically superior almost across the board to the so-called best forward in the East not named LeBron, but he still gets no respect or media all-star love? Not so fast, my friend. Nobody cares about possessions or shooting efficiency; the only thing that matters is points! Why else would anyone consider Kobe the greatest Laker of all time? But unlike Kobe and Carmelo, Andre Iguodala is more concerned about making his team better than shooting more to get more points. That’s why Iggy might not make the all-star team. That’s why the Sixers almost traded him for Monta Ellis. And that’s why he gets no respect.

At least one NBA player sees through the smoke screen. When Tracy Weissenberg of Slam Online asked this player whether he thinks the 76ers have a superstar, he replied,

Definitely, just my numbers alone, being a triple-double threat every single night. I just try to be a complete player…

The player, of course, was Iggy himself. And it goes to show: Andre Iguodala gets it. He added that when critics refer to players as “superstars,” they are “talking about scorers—25-point scorer, 30-point scorer,” which is not what Iggy is. No, Iguodala has more important aspirations than his point totals at the end of the day, and that is one of the big reasons the Sixers have been so successful.

Don’t believe me? Even Kobe, the greatest Laker of all time, recognizes Iggy’s completeness and thinks should be on the all-star team:

I wouldn’t categorize him as just a great defensive player. I think he has a good all-around game, and one of the reasons why I loved him coming out of Arizona was because of his size, ballhandling ability, his shooting ability, his passing ability. He is very well-rounded. Obviously, he has his hands full being in the Eastern Conference. They have a couple of pretty good forwards, so it’s a little tough for him, but he’s well deserving of it.

Take another look at the numbers. Iguodala is an efficient shooter. He takes reasonably good care of the basketball and creates possessions much better than average small forwards. He is probably one of the best passing forwards in the league. He rarely commits fouls, but is still considered one of the league’s top defenders. He is, by everyone’s estimation, a complete player. Yet, he doesn’t shoot the ball as many times as your favorite “stars” so he doesn’t get as many points as them. As a result, he does not, and probably never will, get the respect he deserves. While that may hurt Iguodala and his All-Star chances, the Sixers are probably ok with it.

-James

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