This 76er fan still has an appreciation for an ex-Sixer who found the perfect role.
“Andre has some wasted talent considering he has a mini-LeBron type body” That’s a statement that repeatedly started heated debates between me and my best friend all those years in high school from 07-10.
During that time Andre Iguodala was with the 76ers, the team that drafted him at the 9th overall in the 2004 draft. Yes, before he was known as the ace-in-the-hole sixth man for a 73 win and probable back-to-back championship team, he was a Sixer. When the 76ers traded Allen Iverson to the Denver Nuggets in December of '06, the team officially belonged to the other AI. The critique back then was that Andre was a jump-shot away from being a perennial all-star, because he was already a great defender, a very good passer, an elite athlete and just an all-around smart basketball player. He was expected to be the next Answer, a franchise center piece that you could build around. Only problem is he was never that guy, and that fact somehow became an indictment on an otherwise versatile and valuable player.
In the tire fire sale known as the Andrew Bynum trade, The 76ers sent 'Dre (he doesn’t like being called “Iggy” by the way but I’m going to use that name anyway) to the Denver Nuggets in a three team deal that involved the Lakers and Magic (To Laker fans this trade is known as the Dwight Howard disaster) and seemed to have found a great role on a Nuggets team that won 57 games in the 2012-2013 NBA season. That Nuggets team would lose in a first round upset to a very young and green Golden State Warriors team, then Andre joined that very Warriors teams the next season in another three team trade. You know the rest, then-Head Coach Mark Jackson gets fired after losing a classic seven game first-round series with the Clippers in 2014, and Steve Kerr came in as the new voice, a voice that told Andre that he was best suited coming off the bench. This was something he has never done before in his NBA career and probably in his entire life of hooping for that matter.
It took some time to get use to coming off the bench, but he was able to make that role his own, and it all culminated into him getting the Finals MVP award in 2015. Making big shots, big defensive plays, and being the all-around play-maker that Sixer fans saw in Philadelphia.
That is one underrated thing about Iguodala that Warrior fans have come to love for the last three years. The ability to make clutch plays. All the way from his five game winning shots in the 2013-2014 season (One came against the Thunder at the buzzer in Oracle), his big time threes in game 5 of last year’s NBA finals, or the clutch steals while guarding Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in the waning minutes of game 6 just two weeks ago.
Back in February in Oklahoma City before Stephen Curry made the game winning three pointer he shot from the parking lot in overtime, 'Dre hit two clutch free throws to tie the game and send it to overtime. I’m positive I was the only one in America that wasn’t shocked that he made those free throws. Crazy right? Well when I saw him take those free throws I thought back to game 6 of the 76ers/Bulls series in the 2012 playoffs, and how even though Iggy shot 61 percent from the free throw line that season and 58 percent to that point in the playoffs, he made two clutch free throws to give us a 79-78 lead which would be the final score, and we advanced to the next round (big thanks to CJ Watson too!). Iggy hasn’t shot above 70% from the free throw line since the 2009-2010 season, but he makes them when it counts.
He was never supposed to be the franchise guy in Philadelphia; he was never going to be that in the first place. He is the basketball version of a five-tool player with a streaky jump shot and that’s fine, because a lot of the NBA is being in the right situation, and he found his niche in the Yay Area (not a typo).
He also has some of the best facial expressions and celebrations in the NBA.
First, my all time favorite (happened earlier this season)
Pretty sure that would hurt my hand.
Other than Stephen Curry being my favorite player since Allen Iverson, one of the many reasons I've loved watching this Warriors team play is because of the success Iguodala has had finding the perfect role at this point in his career. I can’t speak for all Sixer fans but I know a lot of them still have an appreciation for Andre, and his accomplishments playing for this absurd team, and yes, even you Mo Buckets.