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.