NBA scribe Jared Zwerling (of ESPNNewYork.com & other online outlets) got some time from Dre and was able to get AI9 to open up about his time here in Philly as well as provide some of his thoughts on what his role will be on George Karl’s Denver squad.
Already one of the most polarizing athletes in the history of the City of Brotherly Love, Dre had a few quotes in the interview that will not be received so well by those in Philadunkia nation. Specifically his comments on his role under head coach Doug Collins, returning to “attack mode” on offense in Denver and the sports atmosphere here in Philly.
After the jump, pieces of Zwerling’s Q&A with ‘Dre…and our thoughts on the AI9’s comments.
Q: Speaking of improvement, what’s been the focus for you preparing for the season?
Iguodala: For me, it’s just getting my confidence back offensively. Last year, I didn’t get too many attempts because I was pretty much a facilitator. I don’t want to have that label stuck on me for the rest of my career, so I got back into attack mode. George Karl and I talked about me getting stronger, that I’ve got to attack the basket. The great thing is I did shoot a high 3-point percentage [last season], like top 25 in the NBA. So I’ve just got to keep that drive. I’ve just got to go out there and be able to play my game and not be too restricted. And I’ve got to be consistent. I know I can do it. I’m just looking forward to getting back to my ways offensively, and still bringing my defensive presence to the team.
Philadunkia Notes: Look, there is no doubt that at times Dre was asked to facilitate the offense under Doug Collins and that may have negatively impacted his scoring numbers, but for Iguodala to imply that he was restricted here in Philly and that he owns an “attack mode” that he is now returning to is just flat wrong. Collins begged him to “attack” the rim more often. Sports radio in this town ordered him to be more aggressive and go to the hole. Hell, we pleaded with him to flip the switch and go into this “attack mode” he describes above. It rarely happened. Why?? Because the fact is Dre is very good 5-tool basketball player, but he doesn’t have the mentality or offensive skills that allow a player to attack the rim consistently and have a huge impact in the scoring column night after night.
Q: I wanted to ask you about sacrifice. If there’s one player in the league who represents that model well, it’s you. You could be a 20-point scorer, but you’ve done a solid job buying into different team systems — and even your numbers have gone down significantly in the prime of your career. Many guys couldn’t imagine that happening, but not you. Where does that mentality come from?
Iguodala: It’s definitely hard. The biggest reason why it’s hard is because, especially in Philly, if you don’t put up a certain number or hit a certain plateau or something like that, they say you’re OK. Interesting, I had a great conversation with George Karl and he said most people talk about the big contract. Everyone wants the big contract. He said, “I had a great team in Seattle and they said the superstars were Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp. But I had rock guys. My guys, no matter what, they were rock guys.” He said, “We got to the [NBA] Finals because of guys like Detlef Schrempf and Nate McMillan.” He said if it weren’t for them, they wouldn’t even have gotten close. He said to me, “You’re compensated correctly for what you do for your team.” And that’s all I ever wanted. Some people understand that, some people don’t. That’s just the way the game is. Most people don’t understand that.
Philadunkia Notes: Obviously Dre was more then just an “OK” player during his time with the Sixers. You’d have to be a basketball idiot to think that he was simply “OK”. Again Andre Iguodala is a very good 5-tool player, but that’s it. He is not a superstar in this League. One could argue that he wasn’t even a “star” caliber player during his time in a Sixers uniform (one All-Star selection and currently sitting at #28 in ESPN.com’s 2012 #NBArank project.). FYI Mr. Zwerling…Iguodala would be hard pressed to average 20 points or more per night for an entire season.
Q: It’s got to be rewarding for you going from one great basketball mind in Doug Collins to another in George Karl.
Iguodala: Yeah, yeah. Different dynamics. I think George Karl is more of an X’s and O’s guy. Doug Collins is more of a connection guy. But I’ve seen a lot of them. I haven’t been with an X’s and O’s guy like George Karl, so that’s what I’m really going to enjoy.
Q: Overall, how’s the city of Denver been embracing you so far?
Iguodala: Not a knock on any city, but Philly and Denver are kind of the opposites. Philly’s a lot of culture, you get every flavor, which is great. Denver is more slow motion. It’s laid back a little bit more. In Denver, there’s always something. Everybody’s happy, everybody’s smiling, everybody’s in a good mood. In Philly, sometimes it’s gloomy a lot. The weather had kind of an effect on the people. In Denver, everybody’s been friendly, everybody’s been nice. The air is so clean. You just wake up and just [makes a hard breathing noise]. You can smell the fresh air. When you walk into practice, it’s like everybody’s happy, saying, “What’s up, what’s up.” So it’s been really good.
Philadunkia Notes: Yeah, Yeah…Philly is a negative town. How many times can we hear this one??? Maybe we are too negative. Maybe we’re even a little mental. Maybe we just care too much about our sports teams. Maybe if you had shown up in Games 3 & 7 against Boston during the 2012 Playoffs we would have forgotten about your giant, cap strapping contract.
Unfortunately in this case we live and die with a Sixers franchise that hasn’t won a championship in nearly 30 years. In Denver people care way more about the great outdoors, the Broncos and the Avalanche then they do the Nuggs (A team that has never won an NBA title.). That’s why they’re so happy and that’s why you’ll love it there.
Q: Looking back, what will you cherish the most about your time in Philly?
Iguodala: Just getting drafted there, scoring my first points, going to the playoffs for the first time and definitely getting out of the first round.
Read the entire interview with Andre Iguodala.