A few weeks ago 76ers GM Rod Thorn was quoted as saying that Iguodala was the Darrelle Revis of the NBA. He’s crazy, right? Crazy like a fox.
In the Sixers victory against the league best San Antonio Spurs, Iguodala dominated. He was 2 of 15 for 7 points. Still, I stand by my statement. Iguodala made at least 5 or 6 amazing plays on the defensive end against Richard Jefferson and Manu Ginobili. The same Manu Ginobili that has entered himself into the MVP discussion this season. Is Manu the only All-Star Iguodala has locked down this year? Hardly.
A week earlier I watched Iguodala shut down Carmelo Anthony. Melo managed only 12 points on 3 of 12 shooting, and was clearly frustrated throughout the game. You might be thinking Carmelo has checked out from the Nuggets, but this is the same Carmelo Anthony that has averaged 33.4 ppg in the 7 games since playing the Sixers.
Back in late December, in a loss at Boston, Paul Pierce (Iguodala’s main assignment in games against the Celtics) went 4 of 15 for 11 points. The same Paul Pierce that’s name happens to be Paul Pierce.
Then, there’s Kobe Bryant. The Black Mamba. Surely, my case for Iguodala fails when you check the box score from December 31st and see that Kobe dropped 33 on the Sixers. Wait…what’s that? Iguodala didn’t play in that game? Nope. But in the one game Iggy played against Bryant this year, Mr. Mamba scored a grand total of 9 points.
Is this a small sample size? Kinda. But those guys are all All-Stars this year. Joe Johnson, another All-Star, has averaged 14ppg in two games against the Sixers this year. Kevin Durant did score 33 on the Sixers, BUT…you guessed it, Iguodala was out. The only perimeter All-Stars this year that have good numbers against the Sixers (w/ a healthy Iguodala) are Ray Allen, Lebron, and D-Wade. Hold on, are you telling me Lebron shot a combined 10 of 27 in two games against Iguodala? Yep. Well, Iguodala doesn’t typically guard Ray Allen or D-Wade (See Pierce, Paul and James, Lebron).
If you recall, one of my hopes for this season was for Iguodala to embrace the shut-down defender role that he played on the FIBA World Championships team. There’s a good chance that he won’t find himself on either of the All-Defensive teams at the end of the season, because voting for those teams is like Gold Glove voting in baseball. However, if he continues to play like this against the NBA’s best, it’s going to be hard to talk about the best defenders in the NBA without putting Iguodala in the discussion.