Living here in Philadelphia, I was able to watch Andre Iguodala’s total development from the time he was drafted by the 76ers with the 9th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft until now.
Iguodala now 10 years later is finally on the thrust of stardom or realizing the full appreciation of his game by others. In this terrific piece on Iguodala from Grantland, the question is raised and has to be asked, Is Andre Iguodala today’s version of Scottie Pippen?
It all sounds a bit mystical. But the advanced statistics clarify Iguodala’s defensive worth. Last season, he yielded just 66 points over 105 isolation possessions2 during the regular season. The mark put him in the NBA’s 90th percentile and qualified him as one of its best man defenders, according to Synergy Sports. More than one in five possessions that Iguodala defended in isolation resulted in a turnover, the highest mark among players who defended 100-plus isolation possessions. Put more simply, the Warriors’ record sat at 8-4 when Iguodala went down with a hamstring injury on November 22. Since then the team has gone 4-6 with him on the sidelines.
“I can be Tony Allen, but at the same time I can be Scottie Pippen on the offensive end,” he said. “I could get 14 assists one night, or 25 points. I always talked about the hockey assist in Philly. The pass that leads to the pass that leads to the score is sometimes more important. I know if I hit Steph, Klay’s man’s going to have to rotate off the down pick because the big is on me. So there’s 4-on-3 on the other side. I know if I swing it to Steph, somebody’s going to have to cover him, and Klay’s going to be wide open. Before the play is even set up, I know to go this way, so the defense has to shift a certain way. Swing, swing, you get a score every time. I learned this from Andre Miller.”
Iguodala speaks openly about patterning his game after Pippen growing up.
“Llike every basketball-dribbling Illinois kid growing up in the 1990s, he practiced his fadeaway like MJ. But Iguodala really wanted to be like Scottie. And the more he watched, the more he realized that Jordan’s teammate Scottie Pippen influenced the game in profound ways, often without scoring…Iguodala studied how Pippen defended Indiana’s point guard, Mark Jackson, in the 1998 conference finals. Guarding the shorter Jackson, Pippen almost single-handedly denied ball movement on his side of the court.”
Both men are similar in their length and their ability to disrupt everything on the floor with that gift. At 6’7″, he could handle the ball, distribute to teammates, defend, rebound and, every once in awhile, score when needed.
Here are the career averages for both players.
Iguodala: 15.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 4.8 apg, 1.8 spg. 46.2 fg% 32.3 3p%
Pippen: 16.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 5.2 apg, 2.0 spg. 47.3% fg% 32.6 3p%
Andre Iguodala may never be a star, be he is top notch, and definitely a game changer in the same breath as Pippen.
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