It’s been a big year for Andre Iguodala. Actually, it’s been a special year for Iguodala, the Philadelphia 76ers’ small forward, when you stop and think about it. During the season, he was named to the NBA all-star team for the first time in his career.
In the Sixers playoff series against the Chicago Bulls, Iguodala put on quite a show in Game 6, making two crucial free throws with 2.2 seconds remaining to give the Sixers a 79-78 win over the Bulls, helping the Sixers advance to the semifinals of the Eastern Conference before losing to the Boston Celtics in seven games.
Then, on Saturday night, he was one of 12 players chosen to represent USA Basketball at the 2012 London Olympics. Iguodala is the first Sixer to compete in the Olympics since Allen Iverson in 2004.
“Congrats to Dre,” said Doug Collins, Sixers head coach. “Nobody could be more pleased than I am that he’s starting to get the recognition for being a great player. Being an Olympian in 1972, I know what this means for him and I’m very proud.”
Collins will have a chance to see him in person. He will be the basketball analyst for NBC’s Olympic coverage. Obviously, he’s proud of Iguodala. In fact, a lot of people should be proud of him.
This is quite an honor for a player who some people don’t regard as an all-star caliber player in spite of his accomplishments this season. Well, they can’t say that now. You can’t be a member of this team without having some ability.
There’s nothing but talent on this roster. The players on this team include: Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks), Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers), Tyson Chandler (New York Knicks), Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers), James harden (Oklahoma City Thunder), LeBron James (Miami Heat), Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves), Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers), Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) and Deron Williams (Brooklyn Nets). This is a big time team.
Mike Krzyzewski, Duke University’s Hall of Fame and the head coach of the USA basketball team, knows basketball as well as any coach in the country. Coach K realizes that each player brings something unique to the table.
Iguodala brings something that all coaches love. And that’s defense. The 6-foot-6, 207-pounder, is a lock-down defender. He always draws the toughest assignment. He played Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce extremely well in the playoffs. He has guarded LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Iguodala should be a great asset at the defensive end.
But his skills aren’t just limited to defense. On this team, he should be able to get out on the fastbreak where he can utilize his speed and leaping ability. He should also be able to break his man down off the dribble.
Today, a lot of people look at statistics. Iguodala didn’t put up big numbers this season. He averaged 12.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists a game. Nevertheless, he was a major reason why the Sixers had a strong run in the postseason.
He has a chance to do a lot of the same things and more for the Olympic team.