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NBA, The NBA's 30 Best Go-To Players / Sep 30, 2009 / 1:23 pm

The NBA’s 30 best go-to players (#19: Andre Iguodala)

Andre Iguodala

Every NBA team has a go-to guy, and there’s really only room for one. And it’s not strictly who takes the last-second shot. It’s the guy who regularly gets the ball when things are getting tense in the fourth; the guy expected to calm things down when teammates are getting sloppy; the guy called upon to snuff out an opponent’s rally, or spark a rally of his own; the guy who’s not just supposed to make shots, but make the right decisions. Bottom line: Who do you want the offense to run through when everything is on the line? From #30 to #1 (one per team), these are the League’s best go-to guys…

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#19: ANDRE IGUODALA, 76ers

The best — and the worst — thing about Andre Iguodala is that we still don’t know how good he can be. While I wouldn’t go as far to say his potential is limitless, I do get the feeling that we could just be scratching the surface of A.I.2’s game heading into his sixth NBA campaign.

Last season was supposed to be the one where it all came together. With Allen Iverson firmly in the rearview, the new-school Sixers had popped their playoff cherry in ’08, had a veteran true PG in Andre Miller and a veteran true low-post threat in Elton Brand. For Iguodala, the 25-year-old being paid franchise-player money, it was an ideal situation to show what he’s got. But then Brand got hurt, the team started off slow while still trying to figure themselves out, the coach got fired, and while the Sixers got their act together in time to make the playoffs, they were bounced in the first round and left a bad taste in an embarrassing Game Six elimination loss. As for Iguodala, he had a good season (18.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 5.3 rpg, 1.6 spg), but didn’t quite reach the All-Star level his talent warrants.

So maybe this year is The Year. Brand is healthy, and while the PG situation is shaky following Miller’s departure, there is some sense of stability with Eddie Jordan on the bench and a clear idea of who makes up the Sixers’ core group. And Jordan plans to feature Iguodala much in the same way he featured Gilbert Arenas in Washington; meaning A.I.2 has every chance in the world to move up to the NBA’s elite class.

They keyword with Iguodala is “versatility.” He is a legit 20-5-5-2 kind of player, durable (missing only six games his entire career), solid on both ends of the floor, and developing as a reliable go-to guy who can go shot-for-shot with anyone in the game’s most important moments.

Last season Iguodala knocked down a memorable game-winner against the Lakers at Staples, and another against the Magic in Game 1 of their series. Both plays exhibited a small piece of why the Sixers like Iguodala as their centerpiece. Against L.A., Iguodala was 0-for-6 beyond the arc before his last shot, when he boldly stepped up and drained a three in Trevor Ariza‘s eye when he could have gone for a two and the tie. Said interim coach Tony DiLeo afterwards: “We cleared it out for Andre and gave him the option. He could have drove to the basket, he could pitch for a three, but he said coming out, ‘I’m going to win the game.’ So he knew what he was going to do, and he did it.”

Against Orlando, Iguodala had missed a huge pair of free throws late in the fourth that would’ve given Philly the lead, but came back on the Sixers’ final play like it never happened and hit a step-back J for the win. (Just like an NFL cornerback, having selective short-term memory is a necessary trait for an NBA finisher.) More than just making a couple of jumpers, Iguodala showed that he wants those decisive moments to be in his hands.

The biggest weakness in Iguodala’s game is his jumper. He hit just 30.7% from three last season, 12.5% beyond the arc in “clutch time,” and on two-point jumpers his 34% was one of the League’s worst. But when the game is on the line, his percentages seem to go out the window and his confidence rises.

Not that he’s a jacker, though. Iguodala is a finisher (League-high 72.1% on “inside shots”) and a playmaker, and with solid scorers around him, a little deference in the right spots isn’t a bad thing. With another year of age and experience he’ll better learn when to make the right call, but the way things are going, Philly has a promising future with Iguodala in charge.

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20. Tracy McGrady
21. Baron Davis
22. Michael Redd
23. Devin Harris
24. Kevin Martin
25. Al Jefferson
26. O.J. Mayo
27. Stephen Jackson
28. Nate Robinson
29. Boris Diaw
30. Rip Hamilton

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  • K Dizzle

    I like Iggy here. Havin no veteran point might hurt him tho, seein as there gonna be no one to set the table and help him get the easy buckets you need once in a while. After checkin the other article with him workin on his j, I’m thinkin dude will blow up this year. After Kobe, DWade, Roy and JJ, Iggy should be makin the climb up the ladder to elite 2guard level

  • Jake

    I agree. He’s a very solid guy, I really like his game. His jumper does need work yes, but he has a chance to be really good. Definitely one of the most entertaining high flyers in the game. With a some more experience, he could certainly be a Top 20 player in the league.

  • LakeShow84

    Fluke ass game winning shot!!

    That shit was in the air for 3 minutes!!

  • Shogun

    Rating Iggy over Al Jefferson is a joke. Devin Harris too.

    Who would you go to if you needed a basket, Iggy or Al?

  • doc

    We bust that ass every year Lakeshow.Yall just cant fuck with the Sixers its a fact.Kiss the November rings bitches!But Im just happy they didnt go with Willie Green right here because thats what I thought was coming after T-Back.

  • Rizwan

    I’m like Igoudala as well but I’m thinking he isnt far from his ceiling. He isnt gonna be a 25ppg player but more like 19, 20. He averaged just shy of 19 last season so I’m not sure how much he is gonna improve. Second option on a big team me thinks.

  • Bizz

    I’d put Devin, Al and AI2 in that order too but that doesn’t mean AI2 a bad go to guy, but it also goes to show that I think DIME rated Al Jeff too low. Iggy has maybe had a penchant for more game winners (or at least more game winners that were more publicized), but Al Jeff from possession to possession will eat opposing centers for dinner in crunch time and is a more reliable option, which I thought was supposed to be the idea of a go to guy.

  • nowwhatyo

    I agree with the prior posts… If Al Jefferson and Iggy played on the same team and a bucket was needed to win the game, then the last play of the game should probably be Iggy dumping it down low for Al to go to work. I think that goes for any player listed above Al Jefferson to this point. Infact, I would suggest Iggy dump it to Elton Brand for that last bucket. If he’s fully healthy, Elton should be the go to player…

  • http://www.in-n-outnba.blogspot.com Lucas

    Worrrrd, Dala Dala Bill is about to breakout.

  • the cynic

    AI2 is as good as he is ever going to be this season. If hasn’t fixed his jumper yet he never will.

  • don cannon

    why is derrick rose so high?

  • Ian

    this is sad ai2 at 19th
    damn if we didnt do this shit by team the top ten go to players would be all 3 spurs ,3 lakers ,3 celts and lebron.

  • don cannon

    AI2 and devin harris should be higher than any player the bulls have

  • LakeShow84

    Because when (and it almost seemed like hes gotten it in that Boston series) Rose gets that midrange down it CURTAINS for the rest of the Eastern PG’s..

    Dude will the Tony Parker of the east.. Maybe even quicker off the first step..

    @ DOC – i figured some shit like that would go down too.. That game was too close for comfort.. November ring huh lol we’ll see what happens this regular season bruh..

  • LakeShow84

    And Devin Harris, as talented as he is, cant hang with D-Rose..

    Devin Harris is a vet.. Derrisk Rose was shittin on vets as a blue chipper..

  • jon

    @ don cannon dats a good ass question

  • Kquaye

    Nice article you hit Iguodala’s game on the nail, but I do think he was ranked too high. He is a finisher and he finishes at a good percentage of 72.1. The problem with AI2 is he does not go to the rim in halfcourt enough. In fact I think most of the time he goes to the rim is on the fastbreak. This could be because we (the Sixers) don’t have any shooters so opposing teams clog the paint or because he does not have a go to move to get into the paint (at least in the halfcourt) I think it is a little bit of both and I hope Eddie Jordan’s offense can help with create lanes for him to drive. Because he doesn’t drive in the halfcourt he forces a lot of jumpers and thats why his shooting percentages are so low, but he still needs to work on his J. I think his ceiling in terms of stats is 23ppg 6apg 2spg 6rpg. I would have rated him 27th on this list.

  • Nigel

    @cynic

    “AI2 is as good as he is ever going to be this season. If hasn’t fixed his jumper yet he never will.”

    Not necessarily. Jordan didn’t shoot above 40% from 3 till he was in his 30’s. So he can definitely improve. He might be forced to once his athleticism starts to wear out….not that that is coming anytime soon.

  • Da_Griff

    Anyone who thinks Iggy would not be taking the last shot over Brand or Big Al needs to be shot.

    Are either of those players reliable from the free throw line?

    No.

    Do the majority of games get decided at the line?

    Yes.

    Is it easier to get the last shot on the perimeter where there’s room to run, or in the post with three guys hanging off of you?

    Yes.

    Jefferson still hasn’t proven he’s a winner. Every team he’s played on stinks.