First things first: I’m a staunch Andre Iguodala supporter. He’s an above average rebounder, an efficient scorer (if a poor shooter), an able passer, and is tremendously consistent from season-to-season. (In his last five campaigns, the split in total wins produced between his most productive season, ’09, and his least productive season, ’08, is 1.31 wins. You can set your watch to this guy).
He’s also possibly the best wing defender in the NBA – a fact that is difficult to prove empirically, but is pretty broadly agreed upon in League circles – and is, talk radio railing aside, on a team-friendly contract.
(In the last five years, Iguodala has produced $91 million worth of wins–54.85 total wins x an average value of a win that has oscillated between $1.57 and $1.76 million from ’07-’11. In this period he’s been paid $43.9 million by the team. So, as far as Iguodala being overpaid…he isn’t.)
All this said…if the Lakers call tomorrow and offer Andrew Bynum, Metta World Peace and Luke Walton for Andre and Elton Brand, the Sixers had better say yes.
In a first blush analysis, the deal doesn’t look like an outstanding one for the 7-6. Iguodala and Brand produced, combined, 44.98 wins since ’08-’09 while Bynum and World Peace coupled for 36.5. If you confine the analysis to last season, the deal looks even worse: the Lakers duo contributed 13.9 wins while the Sixers pair chipped in 19.85.
So while the trade, in the most narrow statistical analysis, looks like a loser for the Sixers, my support boils down to three things:
1.) Elton Brands success from last season is probably not sustainable.
The primary reason the trade looks imbalanced is the fact that Brand, a formerly outstanding player who due to injury and just general ineffectiveness produced barely two wins in the three seasons between ’07-08 and ’09-’10, bounced back in a big way last year – leading the team in points and rebounds and generally kicking ass to the tune of just shy of 9 wins. The bet here is that the oft-injured 32-year-old can’t sustain that.
2.) Andrew Bynum might, just might, become a legitimate NBA center
While Bynum’s total production doesn’t look great, he has, when he’s managed to stay healthy, been very, very good. He’s an extraordinarily efficient scorer; on a per-minute basis, a great rebounder; and, despite the general consensus that he’s had his chance to become great and blown it, he’s 24. When you have a chance to land a 24-year-old center who’s shown flashes of greatness, you take it.
3.) Andre Iguodala, for all his greatness (not a typo) is a redundant piece on the Sixers
Iggy, for all the reasons I mentioned above, is a very valuable basketball player. Problem is, he’s blocking the development of another one. Evan Turner, simply put, did very well when Iguodala was out of the lineup last season, and struggled mightily when he was in it. There’s reason to believe that the two are just to similar to play well together.
In the medium term, if not the short one, a lineup of Holiday, Turner, World Peace, Young, and Bynum is better than Holiday, Meeks, Iguodala, Brand, and Hawes. If the offer comes across your desk Thorn, take it.