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Putting Andre Iguodala into proper perspective

I've argued that the success of the '010 season had as much to do with Iguodala,  as it had to do with a PG that was playing absolutely outstanding basketball and shown his talents by quickly adepting to playing off-the-ball in midseason Per Doug's demands to get the ball to his "playmaker" Iguodala.   As well as the oft-mentioned but underappreciated efforts of Elton Brand.    Had Brand been  a true "option", he easily would've averaged 20/10.    And the Sixers playoff efforts might've been better for it.  This, we noted plenty of times as our mediocre swings couldn't possibly penetrate the Heat defense. 

Well, the Sixers have new ownership and with this, comes the expectations or prayers that we will finally rid ourselves of the 5 year-82 million dollar mistake that was for absolutely no reason at all.(Chicago signed Deng, GSW signed Ellis and after the Clippers signed Baron Davis, no one had any cap left. Washington also went with Arenas/Jamison that year. So, who exactly could field an offer in Iguodala's price range?  Stefanski had all the leverage and he blew it. Of course, Iguodala could've signed the 1-year tender but do what, risk injury?) 

Jefu constantly goes on about how I don't use statistics to back up my argument.   Well,   as per his request. I'll throw a whole bunch of statistics at you.   The best way to put Andre Iguodala into proper perspective is to compare him to players who played his same position. Especially, seeing as the Sixer fanbase has lofty praise for Iguodala(IE: A Pippen-Esque player).

Last time I compared Pippen to Iguodala(on a fourm that essentially tried to knot the two together).   I noted that  Pippen actually excelled at several things Iguodala lacked(Post-up game, overall half-court abilities and with the same roster level wise as the 2010 Sixers, Pippen had a far better W-L record, in a historically accepted more competitive NBA.  In short,  I said Pippen's the far better player.).   Even though I had brought up statistics to the table, as well as(albeit limited) personal oberservations, my thesis on Pippen> Iguodala was rejected. 

So I'm not going to go to that angle again for my argument,  I've also since recognized that comparing Iguodala to Pippen for my argument is a cheap cop-out and doesn't exactly strengthen my position that the guy is heavily over-rated in the Sixers Community.  So instead, I thought the solution might lie in defending my previous arguments.

 

Well-stated due to the idea of my supposed "retardation",  everyone knows  that I said that Ariza/Iguodala were virtual clones of the other. This, after the failed '09 season where   Ariza/Iguodala both were the first options of non playoff teams.  I noted their similar EFG% and for a while, that pathetic EFG% matched their FG%.     And of course, the biggest tell-tale factor is both teams not making the post season.  So I thought, why not overlook their careers and see the similarities?

Let's see after the jump....

http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=iguodan01&y1=2011&p2=arizatr01&y2=2011

-Iguodala has the higher durability, higher FG%(3pt as well as overall), He's a better rebounder,  as well as slightly higher in steals.

One would conclude, if Iguodala has the higher numbers. He's a significantly better player! Hold on there, happy. While these numbers are higher, aren't they   too disgustingly similar? I mean, isn't Iguodala supposed to be heads and tails above the guy? They shouldn't look close, Iguodala shouldn't be "slightly better". 

Looking at it, beyond whose numbers are better. We can conclude that both have no business being on the free throw line when the game is on the line.   Nor are they perimeter shooters by any stretch of the imagination.

So what of the higher FG%, the higher steals and blocks, what's my "theory" to explaining that?

The one difference between Iguodala/Ariza=Iguodala's godly athleticism.     Iguodala has those long arms and he's very coordinated to go along with his fundamentally sound defense.   He's like the Asante Samuels of  basketball.  Everyone acknowledges Iguodala as a top-5 athlete in the game,   I'll acknowledge that as well.   That athleticism translates in the form of steals and even blocks on occasion.  

And what of the higher FG%? I recall an article by Derek Bodner on Iguodala's success rate on dunks and how it's on par with  LeBron James's.     Unfortunately, for all the advanced statistics there are, there isn't one that differs fast break buckets from half-court buckets.  Such a statistic would probably destroy the illusion that Iguodala is an efficent player.  

Iguodala is one of the most deadly players in the fast break, whereas Ariza is probably a tad behind him.   That's where the separation lies for these two players offensively.   Defensively,  if not for the athleticism, they probably are about even. 

Now, separation begins to show itself with the Wins shares, while the DWS is as expected. I have to seriously contest the OWS.  We've acknowledged that both players aren't exactly good from the perimeter to the mid-range(free throw) shot.    Are basketball statisticians really making the argument that the fast break aspect of the game has become such a dynamic?

Maybe in the regular season, where teams aren't exactly as concerned about putting out all the stops defensively in one single game.    Maybe the gimmick known as a fast break can succeed there.   But in the playoffs, it's only been proven to succeed with a top-10 athletic big man(Amare Stoudemire), a hybrid 3pt shooting big that can play defense(Shawn Marion) and a top-5 PG(Steve Nash) and even then, that core had no titles to show for it.

In addition,   if the fast break has become such a weapon, why was it so easily dismantled in two of the three playoff  trips for the Sixers?   Granted, the Pistons were a defensive beast unto themselves but the Heat merely had James/Wade and that was it!   I understand the effect they have in half-court defensive situations and I'll grant you that with their court speed it's easy for them to get back    But the theory is,  when you force a turnover.(A bad pass or stripping the ball from a player's hand),  it takes about a second or so for the offensive team to react and that's your advantage.  Hence,  why unforced turnovers are a sin to any coach.  As compared to the 24 violation or an out of bounds call.

Most likely, when the Sixers "athletic advantage" was gone against the Miami Heat, they had to engage in the half-court.   Where they were met with bigs just as good as theirs(and for shame if Joel Anthony wasn't as good as Spencer Hawes).    If the fast break can be negated simply by matching court speed, I would argue it shouldn't factor into Offensive Wins Shares, as it doesn't judge a player's offensive capability.

 

A fast break results in a turnover, and a turnover IMO is the rough equilvalent to the BABIP(This is when the ball hits into a slight gap that otherwise could've been caught by the player). 

All this goes back to what I said earlier, Advanced statisticians: Make a stat that differates fast break buckets to half-court buckets.    The fast break propels Iguodala's PER and OWS to levels where they shouldn't be at.  

For their careers in the playoffs,   where Iguodala's fast break advantage has historically been negated,  they are dead even in PER.  And Ariza has the overall higher win percentage. Go figure. 

My next comparison will be to Caron Butler, an all-star to be sure.  But if I ever said Butler=Iguodala, some of you would respond. "An improvement over Iguodala=Ariza, but not close".   

http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=iguodan01&y1=2011&p2=butleca01&y2=2010

The FG is closer.  Iguodala(46%) to Butler(44%), to the point where I must invoke the Fast Break rule again.    It can also be invoked because Butler is that much better of a free throw shooter. (85% to 74%)

Iguodala is the slightly higher 3pt shooter, but for this he takes nearly double the shots.  So I'd say it's a mirage than anything they both suck at the 3pter. 

My argument for Butler would be he has a much lower TOV% rate(of 2%) and  nearly 3 APG.  While Butler has the higher USAGE%, this makes me question how usage is calculated?   Is it calculated by the number of shots one takes?  If so, that isn't exactly an accurate description of plays run for a player.  Or how many times a guy touches the basketball. 

Butler, like Ariza gets punished for not having Iguodala's god like athleticism.  And we all can concur that Iguodala gets the ball on the top of the key very frequently,   IMO his usage rating if it were accurate would be a bit higher.  

I would like to think these statistics brought something to the table.   I'd like to think I made a successful statisical argument in claiming that not only is Iguodala not Pippen, but I don't believe he's at Butler's league(A 2nd option on offense).  To me, Iguodala is a guy that benefits greatly from the fast break and is a solid starter for a team. 

He should be getting Ariza's salary,  that would be proper compensation.    Designated as the primary playmaker,   his APG stats are inflated, as compared to a Butler/Ariza, who by definition  defer to guys like Dirk or Arenas/Jamison or Kobe/Paul. 

And with that, my final argument:  Putting more talent around Iguodala won't all of a sudden make him a better player. His APG won't go up, it'll go down.  As we noticed last year, it'll just make Iguodala look invisible.   It most certainly didn't do any good for Butler/Ariza's individual career's.   But hey, the titles and playoff advances were sure worth it! 

Another user-created LB joint.

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