Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Five Most Under Appreciated Athletes in Philadelphia History

NBA: Pistons at 76ers APR 06
Part 2 of 6

5 Andre Iguodala

When the Philadelphia 76ers drafted Andre Iguodala in 2004, he was not on many people's radar screen. He quickly opened eyes, though, with his extraordinary athleticism.

Iguodala stepped into a veteran laden lineup and played a supporting role to NBA scoring leader Allen Iversen and fading star Chris Webber. He made his mark by playing tough defense, hitting the boards and displaying prudence in shot selection.

The new A.I. clearly knew his place with the original A.I. dominating the ball, but exhibited tremendous explosiveness, agility, leaping ability, hustling defense and well-rounded skills. When Iversen wore out his welcome and Webber displayed rapidly declining skills, the Sixers moved the veterans and made Iguodala the de facto center point early in the 2006-2007 season.

"Iggy" continued to fill up all columns of the box score in the lead role, but the team could not escape mediocrity. He teamed with Andre Miller to lead a young Sixers team a step forward with two consecutive playoff berths, before suffering first-round exits.

Conventional wisdom was that the continuing maturation of young talent along with the return of a healthy Elton Brand, this season's team would take the next step forward. As 76ers fans painfully know, however, the team performance dropped like a rock under new coach Eddie Jordan.

In Philadelphia, the debate has continued about Iguodala's deficiencies and inability to raise the team around him. Having been placed in the lead role and re-signed to a lucrative contract a few years ago has made the new AI the lightning rod for the team's failures.

The reality is that Iguodala would be ideal in a supporting role behind a true top echelon star, but in the absence of that, media and fans have centered on trading him in search of coming up with a winning formula. And, despite some of the game's most spectacular dunks and athleticism, his overall skills and contributions unfortunately tend to get overlooked.

No comments:

Post a Comment