Alright, I’ll be the first to admit that at times, I bad-mouthed and hated Andre Iguodala. But, I was a much bigger fan of Iguodala than most other Sixers’ fans were. Who can blame us Sixers’ fans for sometimes hating ‘Dre? After the 2007-08 season in which Iguodala averaged 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game, the Sixers signed him to a six-year, $80 million contract with a $5 million bonus and a player option for the sixth year. The ninth overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft seemed as if he’d be the franchise player, rising star, and the future of the Sixers team. But over the next four seasons, he never even came close to his stats from the 2007-08 season. That is the reason that the Sixers saw no future with Iguodala and traded him away in the three-team Dwight Howard blockbuster last summer.
There is no question that Andre Iguodala sometimes made us pull our hair out with his decision-making. Bad turnovers from Iguodala made us hate his guts sometimes. Every time he took a jump shot, we would hold our breath. So many times have I hung my head as Andre Iguodala tried to be a hero and make a clutch shot or a game winner, but came up short. I cannot tell you how many times he has missed a game tying or game winning jumper. We all asked ourselves the question: Why not go to the basket and get a dunk or a foul? That is why his decision-making was questionable.
After a deep playoff run last season, Iguodala was showing some signs of finally becoming a clutch player. He made many clutch and decisive shots in the playoffs and made two game winning free throws against the Chicago Bulls to upset the no. 1 seed in the first round of the playoffs. The best part of the story, he got fouled on a layup in the Bulls game. These were definite signs of matured decision-making and better future play from Iguodala.
But, the Sixers thought they needed a change in order to contend. They shipped away Iguodala and acquired Andrew Bynum in the three-team trade involving Dwight Howard going to the Lakers. They also shipped away first round picks Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless. Now, this trade is biting the Sixers in the butt…BIG TIME. Andrew Bynum will most likely never play one game for the 76ers. Vucevic is a starter in Orlando and is averaging a huge double-double in points and rebounds this season. As for Iguodala, his numbers are down. But, he is the biggest contributor for the Denver Nuggets, who are twenty-six games over .500, have won fourteen consecutive games, and are 31-4 at home. In the Nuggets most recent game, they were down by five points at home to the Sixers with fourteen seconds left. They came back and won by a point thanks to numerous bad plays from the Philly guys.
So, what do we miss about Andre Iguodala? Well, we miss EVERYTHING about Andre Iguodala. We miss his athleticism, his defense, his speed, his agility, his leadership, his stat sheet, his EVERYTHING. We don’t really miss his shooting. But, that is one small thing in a sea of much bigger things. Iguodala although not a top scorer, did everything else on the stat sheet. He passed the ball well, rebounded well, and was a key defender in each of the Sixers’ wins against the elite teams in the NBA. He was a great facilitator and a veteran leader on the young Sixers squad. Without Andre, the Sixers have struggled to rebound, defend, stop guys in the paint, and score in the paint. Those two last things are what has killed this team in the 2012-13 season.
Philadelphia owes Andre Iguodala a gigantic apology. For all the boos the guy had received in his time in Philly, he actually helped out a lot. Comparing this season to the last three seasons, Iguodala has taken responsibility in almost all of the Sixers wins. We really do miss him and would love to have him back someday. I wonder where this team would be with Iguodala this season?
It’s really sad that we never realized what we had in Iguodala until it was too late and he was in Denver, helping them to an unbelievable season.