Before I get jumped on, I'll explain what brought me to write this post. I am a resident of South Jersey which means that Philly sports are the hometown team. I am a huge philly diehard when it comes to the big 3 sports of football, baseball and basketball. I don't deny that I can be as ruthless as it comes to Philly fans against their team, but I know that unlike those barbarians, I am a realist when it comes to criticism and don't outright curse out the team or call for people's heads. Now what gets me the most riled up are fans that don't recognize fault within the team. This stems from a roommate of mine who outright believes that the Sixers are one of the top 10 teams in the NBA regardless of what our record tells and the style that our offense plays. For example, he feels that after beating a team once, he'd later claim that we could beat that same team in the playoffs.
Now when it comes to players on the team, this same friend can go on to list the strengths and strengths of every player on the team. No that was not a typo, I said strengths twice. Why? Because he fails to even consider that there can be some criticism against the "star" players on the team. I am no hater but i think we have good but not great players.
Now this brings us to the main reason I am writing this, Andre Iguodala. Iguodala is an incredible athlete. He has the physical tools to be a star. He is a great finisher when it comes to driving to the hoop and unlike the previous A.I., he is not selfish. I love watching him play and when the team is running and gunning, he is lethal. So why do I have beef with him?
Unlike what my friend says and other hardheaded philly phanatics, Andre Iguodala can't be compared to the Wades and Bryants of the league. If we are just talking about a great player, than yes thats Iguodala. But when people (aka those like my friends) try to convince me that Iguodala will lead his team to an NBA Championship, I don't see it happening. He may one day be part of a team that wins a championship, but not a Dwayne Wade carrying and willing his team to a victory. My arguments?
1. He doesn't have that killer instinct. From interviews to just watching him play, Iguodala doesn't have that drive that most team center pieces should have. James, Wade and Bryant command for the ball and when the team is struggling they have the ability to carry the team to victory. This "killer instinct" is something I just don't see in Iguodala and this leads me to my second point.
2. He isn't a lights out shooter (when he needs to be). He has his games when he is on but over the past few years (I'm discarding the years with Iverson), he is still averaging less than 20 ppg. More importantly, I've seen Kobe and Wade make near impossible shots, highly contested shots and yet I can't see Iguodala making that pull up with a hand in his face. I think that's probably the reason he doesn't have that killer instinct.
For areas he needs to improve?
1. Andre's bread and butter is his dunks and finishers. Yet he is only averaging around 6 attempts a game at the free throw line. He should be getting there a respectable 9 to 10 attempts at the line and to do that he needs to drive to the basket more instead of settling.
2. He has to be that buzzer beater. Confidence plays a big part in playing well. When you are confident, you play better. Already this year we've seen two handfuls too many of buzzer beaters. Recently against the Lakers, we got slight revenge with Iguodala hitting a three in the closing seconds for the win. When it comes down to one sixer's position, Iguodala needs to have the ball in his hands, not Lou Williams, not even Andre Miller. For him to be a legitimate all-star, the ball needs to be in the hands of the team's best player.
3. He needs to be to the team Leader. Unfortunately I don't have the exact games in front of me, but I remember games where after leading by as much as a double figure, the team came to lose in the final seconds of the game. Now how is that going work if the Sixers aim to be a legitimate contender? Iguodala at the moment isn't the that leader who can will his team to victory.
So when I look back on what I wrote. I notice that I shouldn't be knocking on Iguodala but the fans who claim he is worth the money we paid for him because he is an all-star like a Wade or Bryant. I know basketball is a team game and one player can't make or break a team otherwise the team is doomed from the start. But to those fans who believe that this team will make it to the NBA Finals with Iguodala leading them, unless philly miracle occurs, I don't see this happening. Can Iguodala become that piece to surround talent with? Maybe. But with the big 3 teams of the East (Magic, Celtics, and Cavs), I don't see a way that Andre Iguodala will lead us to victory.
Note: I'm not a hater, just a realist. Everybody's entitled to their opinion and I can respect those opinions.