When people get past the "Andre Iguodala is overpaid" tantrum, it's pretty accepted among Sixers circles that Iguodala is a terrific, underappreciated basketball player. The new SB Nation's Backyard Treasures series seems to agree with that. They also make a claim that Thaddeus Young is underrated, in that much of his contributions don't show up in the box score. I'm less inclined to agree with that, but let's hear it from Tom Ziller. Dre first:
Iguodala is holding opposing small forwards to an effective field goal percentage of .345, according to 82games.com. No big deal. The league average eFG is .485, so Iguodala holds opponents to 0.28 points per shot less than the average defender. If a player takes 15 shots in a game, that's a difference of 4.2 points. That's huge. Iguodala need a lot more recognition for his incredible defense than second team All-Defense and a single All-Star bid.
Yes indeed! Now, Thad:
Young, the team's sixth man extraordinaire, flew under the radar as a restricted free agent in December, eventually inking a five-year, $43 million deal to stay with Philadelphia. He's worth much more than that, and likely should have been compensated like a star. Like Iguodala, a good deal of Thad's value comes defensively. But instead of holding opponents to a low shooting percentage, Young keeps the ball out of their hands: opposing power forwards take just 14.7 shots per 48 minutes against Thad, compared to the 19.2 per 48 Young takes and the whopping 21.4 shots per 48 that Elton Brand's opposing power forwards take.
Ehhhh. Interesting statistic, and one I've never seen before, but I think this is selectively indicating that it is due to Thad's defense that his man doesn't shoot much. I'd say the reasons are because A) Between Elton and Thad, EB usually covers the more talented offensive player; and B) Thad gets to play a majority of his minutes against the 2nd unit, where there are less talented offensive big men and more shot-chucking guards. He also only holds his opponent to a 17.9 PER. That's not exactly stellar. Though the shot attempts are something to keep an eye on going forward.
After the jump we'll get some more loving from Thad and everyone's favorite Boss as 6th men. How can they both be 6th men?
Thad and Lou always come in just behind James Harden in most 6th Man Award rankings, and that's no different here. Sitting and 2 (Thad) and 3 (Boss), the Sixers Night Shift gets plenty of love from Ziller again. Sitting in front of Tiago Splitter and OJ Mayo....
Lou Williams is Mayo cranked up to 11. Despite coming off of the bench in all 46 of his 2011-12 games and averaging only 26 minutes a night, Sweet Lou is the Sixers' leading scorer (15.8 per game), top shot-taker (just under 15 per game, accounting for free throws) and No. 3 assist man.
And Thad again:
Speaking of Philadelphia, Lou isn't even necessarily the best sub on his own team! While we usually consider the best sixth men to be microwave scorers like Williams, Manu and Jason Terry, there's a new strain of top reserves whose biggest impact comes on the defensive end. The Bulls' Omer Asik and Taj Gibson are great examples, but no one tops Thad Young, a huge reason Philadelphia has been able to maintain the league's top defensive ranking this season.
Nice to hear some dap for our boys, even if we don't always necessarily agree. Lou has, undoubtedly, been extremely good AT TIMES this season. He's also been mind-bogglingly bad. But that's just Boss.
.......that's just Boss.