When the Sixers took Andre Iguodala 9th overall in 2004, they drafted him in hopes he’d become the eventual face of the franchise. Since then the team has gone through it’s ups and downs. Now 6 years later, the future maybe now.
Iguodala has earned a spot on the USA Basketball squad for the 2010 Worlds, something that could jump start his career. The opportunity to play with some of the NBA’s best young talent, under the tutelage of Coach K, is one Iguodala has seemed to take full advantage. His game has continued to grow in other areas besides the point total.
Only a few short months ago, the Sixers were shopping Iguodala heavily around the NBA. Now, it seems as if he’s going to get another opportunity to become what the Sixers had hoped he would when they drafted him 6 years ago. Iguodala deserves a lot of credit for earning the teams changed perception of him. When things were at their worst, he stood tall, reiterating his desire to stay in Philadelphia, again and again.
Like any successful player, one needs a strong supporting cast. With the revolving door of head coaches, and some foolish front office moves, it’s been an uphill battle for Iguoala. He could of openly asked for a trade like Samuel Dalembert did, moaned and groaned his way out like Chris Webber. Criticized the organization like Greg Buckner or just plain given up like Glenn Robinson or the aforementioned Mr. Webber. Though, he hasn’t, he’s shown the desire to compete. Now does he have the will?
The future molding of that answer maybe in the process of being constructed at the World Championships.
I asked my Twitter followers (follow me @Mike__SB) what they thought. Will Iguodala’s experience playing for Team USA help his game? Leadership? Or the Sixers chances?
Here’s a few responses:
“I think he is what he is at this point. He doesn’t have to be the leader there either so not much will change” ( @ArenaMj )
-Could be right, may have little affect on his leadership with the Sixers. I still believe that he’s really embracing the role, and the younger guys will look to him for leadership.
“Playing for Coach K never hurt anyone, that’s for sure.” ( @GregDietz )
-Can’t argue with you there. Coach K is certainly running this team like a team. A team made up of equally important parts, not just a team of superstars.
“Think it helps his defense. He is seeing how important it will be in this setting. Collins will have the same message. I feel he could be more of a leader because of this.” ( @NBAtipoff )
-I agree, Iguodala is already, in my mind, a terrific defender. It will surely help ready himself for Doug Collins whose going to preach defense first. As well as offense from defense, no Princeton offense this season.
“Maybe help him realize he will never be the star but just a role player. Know your role!” ( @ScrappleSports )
-The Sixers hope some of the scoring load will be taken off his shoulders with Evan Turner on board. If Turner is successful I think we’ll find out exactly how important and perhaps underrated Iggy is.
With lots of work left to do, the Sixers believe they are finally headed in the right direction.
Along with new Head Coach Doug Collins, 2nd overall pick Evan Turner, and a young nucleus headed by Jrue Holiday, the Sixers are poised for a rebirth of sorts. A franchise that last season was in the doldrums of the NBA , suddenly has hope.
This hope hinges on what type of impact Iguodala will have going forward. The experience he takes away from playing in the Worlds could have the biggest impact on what happens to the Sixers this season. Having some success at the international level, representing your country? Don’t let the magnitude of that become lost. Whether or not you care about it as a fan or not doesn’t mean it couldn’t have a great effect on Iguodala himself. The hunger and desire to make his own success at the NBA level can only become larger.
Iguodala may not be lighting up the scoreboard at the Worlds but he’s continuing his growth as a player. I say continuing because it started during last seasons disaster of a season, for the 76er. Last season Iguodala achieved his highest averages in rebounds, assists, and blocks per game. Seems as if the growth of his game is starting to build.
Will Iguodala be able to take his game to the next level? Become the leader of this young Sixers team?
Those questions will likely be answered soon.
About the Author
Written by Mike Santa Barbara
Sports writer covering mostly Philadelphia sports for over 10 years. Work has been featured on RealGM.com, GCobb.com and Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia (CSNPhilly.com.)