NBA / Aug 19, 2009 / 3:27 pm

Who’s Better: Andre Iguodala or Rudy Gay?

Andre Iguodala

Andre Iguodala

We argue. You decide.

Andre Iguodala has taken a major leap the past couple years from just a good player on a mediocre team, to a key piece in the success of a franchise.

Iguodala has managed, solely through hard work and dedication, to cement himself as one of the most underrated and effective players in the NBA today. Rather, he is certainly not known as a one-dimensional player, as Rudy Gay is, for his offensive abilities. Iguodala is not only a credible threat on offense, both inside and outside, but he can also lock up the opponent’s top scorer on defense — something he definitely does not get enough credit for. Andre averages close to 2 steals a game and 6 rebounds per game as a shooting guard. For comparisons sake, Kobe averages 1.5 steals per game and 5 rebounds per game over the course of his career. I’m just sayin’…

What also overshadows Iguodala’s all-around game is his ridiculous jumping ability. The dude has hops. However, his dunking ability sometimes trumps some of his other accomplishments like his phenomenal shooting percentage which is a solid 47% over the course of his career. Andre is also much more effective than Rudy Gay is at getting his teammates involved in games — Iguodala has a career average of 4.4 assists per game to a mere 1.7 for Rudy.

Andre is, quite simply, an effective basketball player. By that, I mean that he truly does make his team better. He gets to the foul line close to 7 times a game, can come up with a key stop when needed, and doesn’t demand the ball in order to make a contribution. Those types of players, like Shawn Marion in his prime, are hard to come by.

Perhaps Iguodala’s most underrated achievement is his ability to stay on the floor on a consistent basis. In his 5 years in the NBA, Andre has missed a total of just 6 games and has averaged close to 40 minutes per game in many of those years. The 76ers have obviously not been a fantastic team over the past few years, which is probably the main reason why (unfortunately) he’s become somewhat of a forgotten man at times.

In all, Iguodala is undoubtedly a much more complete player than Rudy Gay is at this time. Rudy is questionable (at best) on defense, doesn’t get his teammates involved to the extent that Iguodala does, and tends to base his game solely along the perimeter. I do believe that Rudy is probably the better scorer and pure shooter, but I’d take Iggy in a heartbeat to build around if it was between these two.

Rudy Gay

Rudy Gay

RUDY GAY (by Austin Burton)
So much of Rudy Gay’s career has been about how good he can be, we’ve successfully neglected to notice how good he is right now.

Last season was going to be the “leap” year. On Halloween, Rudy dropped 29 points and a game-winner on Orlando, and post-game, made it clear the Grizzlies were his team and he was supposed to be the one taking the money shots. For the critics who dogged him at UConn and the supporters who’ve been with him since he was an 8th-grader drawing Reggie Lewis comparisons at Baltimore’s Cecil-Kirk rec center, it seemed like a turning point. But Rudy’s takeover was stunted by the development of O.J. Mayo — Gay’s shot attempts dropped from 24 a game in October to 14.8 by April — and despite what they said publicly, there was clearly a power struggle in Memphis between the rookie who had always been The Man, and the young vet still learning how to be The Man.

Ultimately, though, O.J.’s presence is a positive for Gay. It means he isn’t the Grizzlies’ only threat, and if Rudy is naturally a No. 2 — like Iguodala — he can settle into becoming one of the League’s best, playing the Pippen role he was made for while O.J. plays MJ. And while ’08-09 wasn’t the superstar breakout it could’ve been, Gay still averaged 18.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals. His shot percentages were almost identical to the ones he had in ’07-08, when he scored 20 a night; he just had a fellow scoring option in Mayo.

Next season, Gay’s output could even dip another point with Zach Randolph in the mix, but he will be a better player overall. Memphis’ offense was previously designed to do two things: Get O.J. shots, and get Rudy shots. Gay is a better passer than his assist numbers indicate (1.7 apg), and should be able to showcase it now that he has a true low-post scorer, other teammates to step up and hit their shots, and — for a player who’s had five coaches in three NBA seasons — some kind of stability in knowing his role on the court.

Gay added 20 pounds of muscle this summer, putting him at 240 going into a contract year. So if he didn’t lose much quickness and flexibility, Gay now has the size (6-foot-9) to bang with LeBron, Pierce, Carmelo, Kobe, Joe Johnson and other physical wings, yet he still runs faster and jumps higher than most of his peers, including Iguodala. The extra weight also helps Rudy’s defense, which is admittedly well behind Iguodala’s, but not by as much as some would think, given that A.I.2’s D is slightly overrated.

Improving defense, underrated passing, a sophisticated and explosive offensive game, a pure shooting stroke, and now with an added element of power, we may be looking at the most impressive athlete in the game this side of You-Know-Who, and a ballplayer who is a small step ahead of his Philly colleague.

Who do you think is better?

Follow Ben York on Twitter: @bjyork
Follow Austin Burton on Twitter: @AustinatDIMEmag
Follow DIME on Twitter: @DIMEMag

“Who’s better?” archives
8/14 — Ray Allen vs. Michael Redd
8/12 — Steve Nash vs. Jason Kidd
3/3 — David West vs. LaMarcus Aldridge
2/26 — Kevin Durant vs. Danny Granger
2/19 — Paul Millsap vs. David Lee
2/17 — Caron Butler vs. Tayshaun Prince
12/24 — Marcus Camby vs. Andrew Bynum
12/19 — Deron Williams vs. Chauncey Billups
12/17 — Manu Ginobili vs. Tracy McGrady
12/12 — Amare Stoudemire vs. Al Jefferson
12/10 — Dirk Nowitzki vs. Chris Bosh
12/9 — Derrick Rose vs. O.J. Mayo
12/8 — Rasheed Wallace vs. Elton Brand
12/5 — Kevin Martin vs. Vince Carter
12/4 — Brandon Roy vs. Joe Johnson
12/3 — Dwight Howard vs. Yao Ming
12/2 — Paul Pierce vs. Carmelo Anthony

Related Posts with Thumbnails
  • The Real Tryrone

    Ain’t no doubt y’all that Iggy is a baller ya’ll and the real deal yo. Cat’s got mad hops and be dishin them sweetass dimes. Gay ain’t more than a typical athletic cat who just ain’t that great at hoops. Athleticism ain’t all that in the NBA y’all.

    True thugs NEVER lie.
    The REAL Tyrone

  • http://msn Frank

    tryrone, what the hell did you say???

  • GayforRudy

    Nice job keeping it “real” Tyrone. You kept it so “real” that even your typing makes you sound like a mush mouth.

  • Steve A

    “Iggy” is a 3rd option, while Gay still has a chance to be a 2nd option. Right now it’s about a draw I’d say.

  • GayforRudy


    I speak fluent Tyrone and will translate

    “Is not no doubt you all that Iggy is a baller you all and the real deal yo.”

    “Cat (Iggy understood) is got mad hops and he be dishing them sweet ass dimes.”

    “Gay is not more than a typical athletic cat who just is not that great at hoops.”

    “Athleticism is not all that in the NBA you all.”

  • Yoooo

    First off, who has Iguodala EVER locked up? I need to know. He’s never been mentioned in any all defensive team conversation and steals dont mean much as far D goes, because it just means he plays the passing lanes well. He isnt rippin pg’s at half court or anything. Just because he’s built like a Defensive stopper doesnt mean he is. And his board avgs are a result of playing the 3 when AI was there (and please dont EVER mention this guy in the same article as Kobe, ESPECIALLY if your comparing the two)…
    Rudy is a threat, period. Bol can shoot his ass off (pause), and post up. AI2 just run and jumps all day, no kind of jumper. He’s played with WAY better players than Gay has too so his assist #s should be higher!

    Bottom line, any time you bring “hops” up when arguing how good a player is, makes that player ASS, period…

    MenWithGirls.Com Come check my site out, we have some great reads and in just 3 weeks have over 11000 hits.


  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    Got some real characters lol, between Tyrone and Jurg I don’t know who is more horrid.

    Anyway you gotta go with AI2 on this. Boy has more time put in and just a better resume and even at this point his All-around game is just better.

    All-around game usually trumps one dimensional.

    Rudy most def. can drop buckets but A.I. can give you enough scoring, D, rebounding, assist and intangibles.

    Iggy got this.

    True Prisoners NEVER rape!
    The REAL PG

  • karizmatic

    Iguadola is definitely better, but Gay has the higher ceiling.

  • Detroit Dave

    @ Steve A
    Who cares about whether Iggy is a number 1 or 2 option. Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom are 2nd and 3rd on there teams and they are better players than both of these guys.

    Andre is better than Rudy!

  • sh!tfaced


    AI2 has the edge on this, he has proven he can play big-time basketball (playoffs). He is also more reliable and consistent.

    Rudy has yet to show that and though he has his share of making game-winning shots, he has an occasional habit of disappearing late in games.

    Rudy is the better scorer and less prone to turnovers, AI2 the better passer and rebounder.

    Draft beer, not people.

    In Vino Veritas (True Drunks NEVER Lie)
    The REAL sh!tfaced

  • K Dizzle

    No doubt Rudy got the higher ceiling. With Iggy, u pretty much know what you gonna get. Just like at Arizona, he’ll give you a lil of everything. His ceiling gonna be a player like Shawn Marion, while Rudy’s ceilin gonna be like Kevin Durant from last season lol Baltimor stand up

    For real though, I’d take Iggy now and Rudy in 2.

    @ Austin – you need to post a video of Rudy actually passin the rock cuz he been in the l 3 seasons now and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him pass the rock….just sayin

  • Detroit Dave

    @ Dime I love reading these series but you guys don’t put enough of these out. I got mad ideas.

    Still waiting on the:
    Chris Paul vs Deron Williams
    Hedo vs Rashard Lewis
    Rondo vs D Rose
    *6th Man Eddition*
    Nate Robinson vs JR Smith
    Jason Terry vs Ben Gordon
    *Bruiser Edition*
    Paul Millsap vs Brandon Bass

    Olajuwon vs Duncan
    Mark Price vs Steve Nash

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    If only Rudy Gay would come to play every night he would be the better player. Iggy gets the nod as better player but Gay has the greater skill set even though he doesn’t display it night in and night out.

  • dk

    I would pay to read a drunken article written by Tyrone…

    Iggy J is suspect but is a better passer, defender and closer…

  • mr wilson

    A.I. is a better defender but Rudy Gay’s offense potential is unlimited. He’s like 6’10” with a serious perimeter game from anywhere on the court. If he could step his D up, I’m rocking with Gay. He can play the 2 and 3. If Gay added some muscle and D, he could play the 4.

  • Da_Griff

    I’m gonna say Rudy Gay, and here’s why.

    Iggy’s game is as good as it’s going to get. He still isn’t a reliable shooter and has trouble creating his own shot. Until Philly gets a start to play with him, he’ll be like KG was in Mini. A roleplayer asked to be the MAN. It don’t work.

    Rudy on the other hand, just keeps getting better. He’s worked out what you need to do to be a pro, and a pro that wins. Every year he does something better and adds to his game. If his team improves along with him, then Rudy can be a superstar.

    Iggy will never be a superstar.

  • Young Lebron 23

    Can’t wait for kobe vs lebron

  • the cynic

    AI2. He brings a little bit of everything to the table

  • Brado

    Sucks to be Rudy Gay, not just for obvious name reasons – but for the fact that both writers in this piece prefer Iguodala. Isn’t Rudy supposed to have an advocate?

  • Maynard

    When Rudy Gay has Fabolous mentioning him in lyrics — a la Iguodala — let me know.

    Also, let me know when Gay has a work ethic.

  • George W Kush Sr

    Right now Iggy is better. Gay has the potential to one day be better, but that has to actually happen before we can say he’s better than Iggy. As we’ve seen in the past, some players don’t end growing into their potential


    GAY wins… Is too inconsistent for me. And every game i saw him shoot or demand the ball to shoot he would miss… by alot. Gay is undervalued and unappreciated because he is in a small market that elvis still gets more publicity than the whole organization.

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    GAY wins….and somewhere a fag rejoices lol.

  • Sacto_J

    We don’t see much Gay in NorCal (xcept in SanFran, HA!) but I think he’s got a lot of potential. At this point in time, however, if I’m a GM and I had to choose between the two (and hopefully neither of these guys is my first pick,) I would easily choose Iggy over Rudy. No brainer….

  • http://sevendeu2u.wordpress.com/ Seven Duece

    All you need to know is that Philly chose to start giving Andre more responsibilities whether Allen Iverson like it or not. Do you think that would have happened with Rudy Gay?

  • UncheckedAggression

    Not even close. Iguodala is superior to Gay in nearly every way. Gay has a lot of raw talent, but I’m not even sure he knows how to play ball yet. His development has been hampered by his inability to recognize just how many holes there are in his game. Or maybe he doesn’t care. Either way, it should be embarrassing to him that OJ Mayo has already surpassed him as a player. Yet he refuses to acknowledge it.

    After last season I find it hard to believe Gay will ever be a great player. He had a great opportunity to show everyone that he knows how to lead a team and he just looked like he wanted to outscore Mayo. Not that OJ is an assist-machine, but Gay might be the worst passer in the league that scores over 15 a game.

  • Amos Leak


  • Dapro

    At the moment I have to go with Iggy, he improved from last year especially in the playoffs. Rudy has a higher ceiling and his scoring game seems effortless but I need to see him dominate the game and become more of threat on a nightly basis.

    On a related note he shouldn’t be number #2 behind mayo already

  • http://dimemag.com Ben York

    I am a terrible writer who lacks the grammatical skills to post essays on a high traffic site. Someone please buy me a copy of Strunk & White or enroll me in a basic writing course. My already muddy arguments are further obscured by the butchered rhetoric I use to foment them.

    Ben York

    p.s. Did you see when one of my arguments for Steve Nash being better than J. Kidd read: “When are we going to give Nash a break (for his defense)?” I mean, seriously, I don’t deserve to be here.

  • Singharaj

    I’ll say this: Ben came out with the better argument providing statistics and analysis of Iguodala. Austin didn’t make much of an argument for why Rudy was the better player, he just defended Rudy Gay for a par ’08-’09 season. In the sense of picking who is better at the debate I would definitely say the clear winner is Ben.

  • 45%

    iggy at his best is a 3rd banana.

    gay is better now & always will be.

  • utahJZZ

    I think Gay’s better, I also think the Grizzlies have an outstanding future with Mayo/Gay/Gasol. To this day I am shocked that the grizzlies passed on tyreke evans. An Evans/Mayo backcourt would be unstoppable

    And the most underrated player in the league is Kendrick Perkins

  • UncheckedAggression

    Sometimes I just can’t believe how clueless some people are, despite the fact that they probably watch a decent amount of basketball. This is not a fair comparison by any means.

    Maybe some of you live in an alternate reality, one where Gay knows the game and learns to be a leader. In that world the Grizzlies are a force–shit, they might even get homecourt in the playoffs! Unfortunately, the real world is more grounded by facts. Gay is a selfish player that doesn’t see the floor and doesn’t play good D consistently. If you value him as a basketball player more than Iguodala then I don’t know what to tell you.

  • TyroneNeedtoSpellRite

    Hey Tyrone.. did you just graduate from middle school, because Im having a hard time deciphering what the hell you just said… maybe I need to pick up a course on ghetto ebonics so I can understand all that crazy talk you speak of… You are keeping it real (Stupid that is ya fucking wack ass):)

  • zmafuel

    Fyi, guys, players do not actually add “20 lbs of muscle” in a three month offseason. To gain 20 pounds of pure muscle in a 3 month period, you generally either have to be a completely untrained athlete with great genetics or on roids. There is an exception to every rule, but just pointing out that 19 out of 20 such “reports” are complete exaggerations.

  • MSkittle

    Rudy Gay= better shooter and player

  • K Dizzle

    Rudy Gay sells tickets? lol

  • Rizwa

    Did da griff just call KG a role player????

  • Kudabeen

    Dre I is just a much better playmaker. Rudy has size and scoring ability that is crazy, but he doesn’t have that dog in him. He shows flashes, but until someone pulls his card and gets him fully invested in being dominant nightly he will always be Tracy McGrady lite…

    Dre I on the other hand is at least maximizing his talents. For those that say he hit his ceiling I disagree…He has improved every year and I don’t see why that won’t continue. With more weapons his scoring can increase, but this year he will be required to handle the ball more since they don’t have another PG/setup guy. He is a top level passer in the L right now. 20 7 and 7 type of guy with very little shot attempts. When Rudy was getting 24 shots a game what did it amount to really?

    Dre I is the better player without question. People need to stop banking no potential vs work and results. Rudy is a very dangerous matchup, but he quits on himself if one thing isn’t going for him. If he has put on the muscle and is dedicated to being more aggressive this year this conversation will be different next summer, but right now I’ll take the guy facilitating success for a bad team.

    Really his passing and playmaking are that good. I really on see 5 other guys in the L really putting in the kind of work he is at the wing: LeBron, Wade, Joe Johnson, Kobe, and Vince/Tracy win healthy.

  • Kudabeen

    Ya KG is was a role player for the Wolves if Role = The Man…

    Funny how people continue to attribute team success to individual talent. It wasn’t the fact that McHale and crew screwed the entire franchise over repeatedly…It was all because Garnett was really a 2nd or 3rd banana…right…

    Did you watch BBall in the 90’s Griff??

  • Chise

    Right now I guess I’ll go with Iggy but dude is mad unskilled in my opinion.. He’s got hops and speed which (like someone said earlier) doesn’t necessarily translate to being a “stopper”… people always label dudes “stoppers” if they’re offensive game is limited yet they have mad athletic ability.

    Rudy on the other hand? Sky’s the limit as far as his offensive game is concerned.. He’s definitely never dished the rock off, played D or crashed the boards like an almost 6’10” dude should be crashing the boards…

    So down the line I think Rudy will be reeking havoc on this league in ways Iggy won’t be able to compete with, but right now I guess I’ll take the better of the two non spectacular dudes… That’s AI2

  • hooper501

    Name one great wing player that was incapable of giving you 40??? Exactly there aren’t any! Andre Iguodala cant get you 40 ever. Andre Iguodala is a decent player, with a shitty offensive game, lots of leaping ability and long arms which gets him some unwarranted defensive credit. Rudy Gay is a freak with good scoring ability…he will jump into that Elite sf category with Bron Melo Durant here in the very near future. Iggy doesn’t have that potential. He is just supremely overrated. He is not that good of a playmaker as its made to believe, he is a ball stopper because of him trying to hard to prove he can score. He is terrible at creating space for himself. He can push the ball but he cant beat his man with the dribble. He is not a threat to block shots, but he does rebound I will give him that

  • hooper501

    Oh yeah Rudy’s better

  • doc

    Rudy gay is only better at shooting.D,boards,smarts,hustle,WINS.iggy got him beat.

  • /.,';/.,';';/........................ go jazz

    gay is better but igge is good!

  • Haider

    Igoudala but rudy stills good

  • http://www.dime.com Ricky

    Rudy and Igge both got ups but the jump shot is wat seperates Rudy from Iggy cuz iggy has no jumper at all

  • Kquaye

    I watch the Sixers a lot and ill admit that Iggy is good but he annoys me. The article is right Igoudala is a good passer, but if you watch Igoudala it seems like he struggles to score every game. At the end of a Sixers game I always ask myself how did Iggy get 18 points or however many points he had. Igoudala has a solid but nit great jump shot but he takes too many jumpers and when he misses them he misses horribly. He does not drive the ball enough in half court and the majority of his slashes to the rim are on the fastbreak. I dont watch Rudy Gay a lot but I know he a better shooter and he has a post game (something that Igoudala doesnt have but he needs) Rudy is a better scorer. If you like more all around players Iggy is better. If you prefer scorers Rudy is your guy.

  • b625

    dre day has led his team to the playoffs twice. with barely any talent around him. no superstar teammate. nobody one the bench. nobody. and whoever says that he cant create his own shot needs to watch game 1 vs orlando from last postseason……………… what has rudy gay done????????? can anybody tell me???? dre day all day. and he’s still getting better.

  • Ivy

    clueless people how can you say RUDY got potential and RUDY got this when we talking about now,i mean IGGY is the one gettin philly where it is ever since A.I. original left, RUDY may have pure shooting but IGGY got the hopps, he plays the D well and passes to his fellow team mates when it comes to numbers all has been said by Ben York, and i hear something about IGGY hittin the ceiling HELL F’N NO IGGY just hasnt had the time to really shine but gotta admit he aint at the top of his game but i gotta feeling the next few seasons might be the recarnation of IGGY meaning his game would be a step up since the departure of Dre Miller……..only way we can sum these comparisons up is by waiting for the next season.

    RUDY is aite but IGGY is better and has more to show.

  • b625

    fo real. andre miller leaving only means more shot attempts and assists for dre day. which means better stats. which means he’s gonna get better. which means he’s way better than gay. i dont care if gay is a better shooter. what has he done??????? no playoffs. no sick ass dunks on espn. no rookie sophmore game mvp……. and dre should of won that dunk contest. but because sorry ass nate robinson is short he got the edge. waaack. it should have been dre day holding up that trophy. again what has rudy gay done. noooooothiiiiiing. he hasnt prove aaaaaannnnyyyythiiiiing. dre day all day. nuff said.

  • Matt

    Iggy is not only a better player in every aspect of the game, but he will always be better than Rudy. He is a lock down defender, and he has held many of the leagues best (Kobe, LeBron, DWade, and Roy) to well below their averages multiple times. The reason he has never made a defensive team is because it is rare to make that team unless you have great statistical defensive numbers. To make it as a lockdown defender, you need to do it deep in the playoffs, which takes a great team. And everyones hating on Iggys offensive game. Watch a game people. The only reason Iggy hasnt scored 40 in a game is cause he rarely take 20 shots a game. Like 5 times last year. Kobe doesnt even score 40 without shooting 20 times a game. Its called being efficient and picking your spots. And if you watched the sixers you would be able to tell how good of a shooter he really is. He had a horrible start to the season which killed his averages. That game winner over Ariza, the game winner of Turkulu…they wernt flukes yo. Watch my boy play please….then comment.