SLAM magazine has been running an online series titled “Top 50: The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players”and last Friday the 76ers Andre Iguodala popped up on the countdown at #26.
The 26th place ranking that Iguodala received from SLAM sparked a serious debate here at the Philadunkia offices about AI9’s place among the NBA’s elite. One thing we could agree on was that #26 was too far back from the #1 spot for Iguodala and apparently we’re not alone in our thinking. Brian over at the Sixer loyal blog depressedfan.com posted a piece this past Friday about how Iguodala’s place on SLAM’s list was simply, “bad” . So to us the idea that Iguodala’s ranking by SLAM is flat wrong is a stone cold mortal lock.
However for us here at Philadunkia it’s not enough to just say that SLAM was wrong. So here at Philadunkia, most of last Friday was consumed by trying to determine exactly where Iguodala belongs when one ranks the best basketball players in the NBA. Hey, that’s our responsibility to you the reader.
First let’s establish the most important guideline in our attempt to find Iguodala’s rightful place among the NBA’s premier players. In order to earn a place on Philadunkia’s list of the best basketball players in the League, a player must be able to do more then score. In fact, to make our list you need to possess a better then average skill level in all of the five tools involved in basketball (scoring / shooting, rebounding, passing, dribbling and defense).
Therefore, if a player can get buckets, but he is a defensive liability, then he’s not making our list. If a player can drop dimes, but can’t knock down a wide open J, then he’s not on our list. We don’t care how many All-Star Games a player has hooped in or how many rings a guy owns, if an NBA cat owns no skills in one of the five categories named above, then you will not find him on our list.
Now we didn’t have the time to slot each player on our list and assign him a specific number ranking, because the arguments here at the Philadunkia offices would have raged for weeks. So we agreed to group the elite basketball players in the NBA into tiers. “Tier #1” holds the uber-elite players in the NBA and we worked our way back from there. We kept assigning the players to tiers until we arrived at a general consensus on the tier that Iguodala should be placed in. The players are listed in their assigned tiers in random order.
Here’s how Philadunkia ranked the best basketball players in the NBA…
So, our ranking system slots Iguodala somewhere between #14 and #19 among the NBA’s best basketball players. That’s a ranking we feel is a much better representation of Iggy’s unique collection of all-around basketball skills then SLAM’s #26 position. Too often when these type of rankings are released, there is an over emphasis on a player’s ability to put the ball in the bucket and not enough attention is paid to the other fundamentals of the game. We believe that’s why Iggy sits in the #26 spot on SLAM’s list. Because Iguodala doesn’t treat the scoreboard like his own personal pinball machine, his proper place among the NBA’s best is rarely recognized and respected by the national media. But watch him on a nightly basis like we do and you’ll learn that AI9’s incredible all around game definitely places him inside the Top 20 best basketball players in the NBA.
Finally, you’ll notice that absent from out list are a host of names that own “superstar” status in the NBA that are probably on SLAM’s Top 50 countdown. However we have good reasons for why many of the NBA’s most recognizable faces did not find a spot on our list. For us players like Shaq, Dwight Howard and Jason Kidd didn’t make the list because they can not shoot a lick. You won’t find All-Star regulars like Dirk, Vince and Gilbert Arenas on our list either because they play ole’ defense on a nightly basis. When guys such as Amare, Monta Ellis, Rojon Rondo and Michael Redd as well as rising stars like OJ Mayo and Derrick Rose read this post, they’re probably going to be pissed at us. But face it fellas, you all still have some work to do because there are giant holes in your game.
Unlike Andre Iguodala.