Andre Iguodala has been a 76er for seven seasons after being selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2004 Draft. He has been the “face” of a faceless franchise over the past five seasons, leading them to a total of five playoff victories.
In 389 regular season games, Andre Iguodala has averaged 17.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists, while shooting just 45.3 percent from the field, 31.8 percent from the three-point line and 74.4 percent from the free-throw line.
The problem is he’s not a go-to player. He’s not the guy that is going to hit the big shot for you. He’s not the guy who’s going to take over a game and lead you to victory. He’s the guy that’s going to get the stop you need on a winning team to set up the guy who hits the game winning shot, or he’s the guy that drives to the lane and kicks it out to the star of a team who drills the jumper. Ideally, Iguodala should be one of the best second options in the NBA. He’s even proven that he belongs in that role when he was the defensive specialist for Team USA when they won the gold medal at the 2010 FIBA World Championship.
Iguodala is a good offensive player with the ball in his hands, attacking the basket or setting up teammates. He has struggled consistently with his jumper and three-point shot for his whole career, and although it has improved, he still is settling for it way too often. His shot selection at crucial moments has gotten worse and worse over the past few years, and this year he failed to make any game-winning shots after having the ball in his hands almost every time the Sixers were in that situation. According to NBA.com StatsCube, in the clutch—five minutes or less and the score within five points—Iguodala shot just 31 percent from the field, 11 percent from three-point range and 65 percent from the free-throw line this season. These are unacceptable numbers from a player who is supposed to be the leader of a franchise.
With the future of the franchise clearly in the hands of Jrue Holiday, 20, and Evan Turner, 22, now is the time for the team to part ways with the “face” of the franchise, as they did with Allen Iverson in 2006. Iguodala, Holiday and Turner are all playmakers. There’s not enough room for Holiday and Turner to grow if Iguodala is still playing as a point forward on this team. It’s time to see what this young backcourt can really do.
We saw a few glimpses during the regular season and in the playoffs as to how special these two guys can be. Jrue Holiday continued to flourish this year and was the only Sixer to score in double figures in each of the five playoff games this postseason. Evan Turner got some quality experience this year and had a coming out party in Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs, where he helped lead the Sixers to their only victory in the series against the Miami Heat. Turner scored 17 points, kept the team in the game early on, hit a few big shots down the stretch and made the game-clinching free throws with a few seconds left. Turner’s game will continue to grow the more minutes he plays and the more Doug Collins trusts him.
In an ideal world, Iguodala will be gone by summer’s end, and the NBA and Players Association will have agreed upon a new collective bargaining agreement. Not to take away from what Andre has done for the Sixers franchise over the past seven years and all the memories he leaves behind, but it would be best for all parties involved if Iguodala suited up for a different team during the 2011-2012 season.