The Emancipation of Andre Iguodala

Sean StancillSenior Writer IOctober 29, 2008

2007-08 was a dream season for many teams. The Houston Rockets and their improbable 22-game winning streak, the unexpected upbeat swagger of the Portland Trail Blazers, and the Celtics' incomparable run to their 22nd title banner.

No one really documented the Philadelphia 76ers and their run to the postseason, grasping the seventh seed. They were led by veteran Andre Miller and star Andre Iguodala. The point of emphasis: Iguodala.

Andre came into the league from the University of Arizona, along with other extensive NBA talent. Now, let's take a look at his shining moments and accomplishments against fellow draftees and in the NBA: 

He completely eviscerated Josh Smith since the two entered the league in 2004-05. In particular, Josh Smith yielded every category to Iggy except for blocks and rebounds in 2005-06. Last season Andre badgered him in points, assists, free throw shooting, steals, and turnover ratio.

Missing only six games in his entire career, durability has been an incredulous gift. Only Dwight Howard—also a fixture of the 2004 draft—has appeared in more games than Iguodala since their entering. A feat that hierarchy draft mates Ben Gordon, Al Jefferson, Luol Deng, Kevin Martin, and Josh Smith hasn’t been able to accomplish.

Iguodala’s brilliance and his palmary skills as a defender in the league is finally starting to surface. He was sixth in the NBA in steals averaging 2.1 a year ago and fourth in 2006-07.

When asked about his rapid enrichment in the NBA, the Nigerian descendant replied: ''I think I stepped my game up this year from last year, but I feel there's a lot more I can do as well, I'm attacking a little bit more." Appropriate words from an emerging star and the face of the Philadelphia 76ers' franchise.

Andre’s scoring average has continued to rise in each of his first four seasons, possibly insinuating/foreshadowing a 20-point season in 2008-09, a feat 76er shooting guards have failed to accomplish since Iverson’s cross country trip to the Rock Mountains midway through 2005-06. 

In the first round matchup between PHI-DET last season, Iguodala, to some extent, underachieved in the eyes of critics around the league. However, his steals and assists totals were higher than during the in-exclusive 82-game season and his postseason free throw percentage fell exactly intertwined with that of his regular percentage.

Though his offensive numbers were down because of inexperience and the Pistons' menacing defensive force field, many people fail to realize his contributions on defense. In the three playoff home games against the Pistons, he averaged three steals per game.

With Andre returning after signing a six-year contract extension over the offseason and the addition of Elton Brand, the 6-6 slasher will continue to improve and learn more of his responsibilities. 

Iguodala's first games of the 2008-09 season are against the Knicks, Hawks, Kings, Heat, and Magic—teams that relinquished an opponent average of over 100 points last season.