Back when Allen Iverson was traded from the 76ers to the Nuggets, Andre Iguodala saw his per game scoring average jump by six points as his usage rate shot through the metaphorical statistics roof. At just 23 years old, Iguodala was the leading scorer on a rebuilding Philadelphia squad, which means he was going to be getting lots and lots of shots. So many shots.

But that’s not what Andre Iguodala is all about. He’s more a team guy, the sort of leader who’d like to make a pass to set up a game-winning shot, then go block the other team’s attempt at the other end. That approach is all wonderfully detailed in Lee Jenkins’ new piece on the 76ers and how they succeed by being a real team, man.

However, Iguodala did learn one thing from being his team’s featured scorer and that’s how to guard other featured scorers. But then that makes him wonder why other featured scorers can’t use their knowledge to lock down other other featured scorers. It makes more sense when he says it. From SI:

“I learned from being a go-to guy what I didn’t like,” Iguodala says. “Coaches tell you, ‘Get to the hole. Don’t settle for jump shots.’ So when I guard somebody, I want them to settle for jumpers—outside the paint but inside the three-point line—and then use my length to contest late.” [...]

“It makes no sense to me why so many good scorers can’t defend,” Iguodala says. “Like Lou Williams. He’s one of the toughest guys to guard in the league, but he can’t guard anybody. I don’t get that.”

I don’t know if using one of his teammates as an illustration is the best choice, but this is a really good point. Go-to scorers know what makes it hardest for them to score, so why wouldn’t they use those same techniques to defend opponents? You hate it when a guy forces you to catch the ball way out on the wing, then make him catch the ball way out on the wing. It’s like the NBA version of projection bias and it seems to make all the sense in the world.

Of course, if this really did play out as Andre Iguodala envisions and all go-to scorers become great defenders because they know all the tricks, then there will cease to be go-to scorers. And then the NBA’s middle class will take over, commanding salaries that are far beyond their abilities and then we’ll have another lockout and then Andre Iguodala will be booed even more.

That’s the only logical conclusion to this theory, so maybe we should just ignore it. I don’t know about you guys, but I like points.

Comments (7)

  1. Good article. In my opinion, scorers obviously focus on putting the ball in the basket. Not dedicated to developing their defensive game. You don’t see DeRozan go into the gym and focus on his defense, no – he hoists three pointers in the off-season ignoring the fact that he can’t defend.
    In addition, I think its also important to note that many people discuss statistics and boxscores, playing exceptional defense often goes unnoticed by many fans and people who simply check out the box scores.

    Iguodala’s points are dead on – but he’s gotta understand that his offensive game was not the greatest when he was the go-to-guy (still isn’t great) so he can see how it’s easier to defend. Also he is a freak of an athlete with exceptional length which many people don’t have such as Lou.

  2. I suspect Jordan has no real idea what DD is working on in the offseason.

  3. That’s also like asking why aren’t lockdown defenders good scorers. If they know how to play lockdown defense, then they should know how to get around it right?

    • Clearly, you have not watched a single game of Raptors this season.
      Yes, take what i said with a grain of salt but DeRozan is a below average defender for his position – mainly due to effort and strength, not a lack of athleticism.6
      As for the 3′s…he’s attempting nearly 1 more three pt attempt than last year and is only connecting on 25% of them. This, along with the fact that he stated that he wanted to extend his range in the offseason. Not saying this is bad, shooting guards need to be a threat from deep, but it also was a minor detail on the point i was trying to make; that most scorers focus on improving their offensive game, rather than defense and this translates onto the court.
      Not sure if Sharone has inside access into DeRozan’s training routine but this is off what I have read and heard from the offseason and what I’ve seen throughout the year.

  4. It’s unfortunate Andre Iguodala has to sport those glasses…but he looks pretty futuristic with those and the knee sleeve. Who’s the most futuristic player in the league?

  5. Completely agree with Sharone

  6. People boo on Iggy? Why?

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