Former 76er Andre Iguodala is at it again. First there was his interview with ESPN.com’s last week in which he took some cheap shots at the 76ers management over the years and the Philly fans. Now in an interview with cbssports.com, Dre had some not so pleasant things to say about Doug Collins and his last year in a Sixers uniform.
I’ll be honest and tell you that I was a big Iguodala supporter during his time here in Philly. While I understood that he was not an elite NBA player (and probably would never be) and that one could argue that he was overpaid, I also realized that he was a unique 5-tool player with extreme athleticism who’s presence would be highly valued by any NBA team. As a bonus, I also thought that Dre was a class act on and off the court.
However, after reading his latest interview my opinion of Iguodala has turned. I’m tired of him placing the blame for his shortcomings here in Philly on everyone but himself. Were things perfect with the franchise during his run here? Absolutely not. But are the 76ers and more specifically Doug Collins singularly responsible for his less then superstar career over the last 8 years? Absolutely not. I wish that Iguodala would just shut up and move on with his life. I know I have.
To me the oddest part about this set of interviews by Iguodala (out side of the onslaught of negative comments) is that Dre was the anointed “leader” of the Sixers during his last couple years here in Philadelphia and he rarely had anything remotely interesting to say. Now he has suddenly become a quote machine in Denver where apparently he is free from everything that was keeping his game down and his mouth closed here in Philadunkia nation.
More interesting quotes from Dre and our reacts after the jump…
DRE: “I lead the team in assists. So I was put in the position to be a facilitator. But it wasn’t put out there like I was a facilitator. When we lost games, it would be that I didn’t score enough. But when we’re winning and the ball’s moving, it’s flowing, ‘Andre’s a great facilitator.’
Philadunkia Notes: We get it already. Collins designed the offense with you as a facilitator and you think you would have been better used as a scorer. Stop talking about it and go out an prove DC wrong this season in Denver. I bet you anything, and I mean anything you fall short. You are not an NBA level high volume scorer — period.
DRE: “I haven’t really enjoyed basketball a whole lot the last couple of years,” Iguodala said. “Last year was a big year for us, but it was just draining for the criticism to be there every single day.”
Philadunkia Notes: There is a possibility Dre is taking a shot at the fans and the media in Philly with this quote, but I actually think this one is directed at Collins, so I’ll go with that angle…Collins and his demanding style are notorious for burning players out after two or three years, so I can see that playing for DC is probably not a party everyday for the players. However, for Dre to say that he didn’t enjoy the resurgence the Sixers experienced in the last two seasons is just ridiculous.
Last year there were two time periods (the hot 18-7 start and the 2012 Playoff run) where the Sixers were more than relevant again. In fact they absolutely owned the sports landscape in Philly at those points in the year. Not since the 2001 NBA Finals have the 7-6 held such a lofty position in this town. How the hell was that not enjoyable?? Collins wasn’t the only reason for the meteoric rise of this once dormant franchise over the last two years, but he certainly had a large part in it. So if I’m a player I grow up, get a a thicker skin and enjoy the winning. Hey Dre — did you enjoy basketball a lot under Eddie Jordan?!?
DRE: “Once again, you get that perception that you’re just a defender, you’re just an athlete, blah, blah, blah,” Iguodala said. “I think that’s what the perception was based on my last two years in Philly because I was the facilitator. They didn’t want me to go out there and get 20-25 (per game) because when I got that, they said we couldn’t win.”
Philadunkia Notes: They didn’t want you to go out and get 20-25 a night because you’re not capable of scoring at that clip on a nightly basis. Anyone with a real knowledge of basketball could watch you play for 10 games and see that isn’t in your skill set. So “they” were right…With you running around jacking up ill-advised shots all night the Sixers would never be a winning team. The Sixer teams of the last two seasons needed a balance scoring attack if they were going to win. FYI…In 2011-12 when Dre shot the ball 12 or more times per game the Sixers were 12-13. When he fired off 11 or less FGAs, the squad was 18-14.
DRE: “So in Doug Collins’ first year, I didn’t shoot threes because he was like, ‘I don’t want you shooting threes, I don’t want that shot…Last year, I said, ‘I’m shooting it.’ And what happened? Shot 38 percent from three, top-25 in the NBA from three and I’m supposed to be a non-shooter. You put so much work in, and then to be told, ‘Don’t do what you worked on all summer.'”
Philadunkia Notes: Like any intelligent coach, Collins analyzed Dre’s stats from 2009-10 and as well as his career numbers and saw that Dre does not have the stroke to be a player who shoots a lot of 3’s. Take a look for yourself…In Eddie Jordan’s “Princeton offense” Iguodala hoisted up 303 three pointers and only made 94 — that’s 31%. In his career Dre has had three seasons where he shot more then 250 3PAs and his average shooting percentage across those three seasons is 31.5%. That’s not good.
So like any wise coach would do, Collins asked Dre to hold off all the long range shots and concentrate on other things offensively while working on his jumper on the side. It took Dre nearly two more years of working on his jumper to prove to Collins and the League that he is a legit 3-point threat, but he finally did it in 2011-12, hitting 76 for 193 — 39%. Thus this year I would have expected Collins to give Dre a little more freedom from behind the arc. But for Dre to have expected the unconditional green light from deep prior to this upcoming 2012-13 season is just crazy talk.
DRE: “I’d rather get a triple-double than score 40.”
Philadunkia Notes: You say this, but you have spent most of the last two interviews I have read complaining that Doug Collins held you back from a scoring standpoint and that you are now going to return to “attack mode” (a scoring reference I assume) in Denver. So it actually seems that you are a little preoccupied with proving you can score the ball at an elite level. For the record, Iguodala has 8 triple-doubles in his career and 4 of them occurred in the last two years under DC.
DRE: “And the first thing you get to the playoffs. You get to the playoffs, and you see what happened last year. Derrick Rose goes down. Then we get to Boston. We took them to seven games. Looking back, we’re saying, ‘Man, we could have beat them.’ They took Miami to seven games! We were right there.’
Philadunkia Notes: You’re right we could have and should have beat the old, tired and injured Celtics last spring. And we would have if you had bothered to show up offensively in either Game 3 or Game 7 of that series. Pick one. Your choice. Either one would have been fine.
If you had gone into this new “attack mode” for one more night in your Sixers career and come up huge in a big game, the Sixers would have gone to the Eastern Conference Finals last year. You probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it, but Philadunkia nation sure would have.