Of all the sports writers in Philadelphia, Kate Fagan is far and away the best, in my opinion. She stills works as a beat writer for the Sixers, though inevitably she’ll move up in the world of sports journalism. As in recently, she co-wrote a story about women’s basketball in ESPN the Magazine and authored a feature in the Daily News on Jimmer Fredette. Sixers fans are truly lucky to have her write for the team.
However, I disagreed with her assessment about Andre Iguodala Sunday morning in the Inquirer, which I’ll link to here: Inside the Sixers
Here are the key lines:
For 47 minutes, his skill, defense, and selflessness raise the level of his teammates. It would be even better for Iguodala to stretch those 47 minutes a few seconds further.
For some reason, having your name announced last during starting introductions means you must also have the ball in your hands as the clock winds down.
Why? What more must Iguodala prove?
Leading isn’t just about taking action, it’s about knowing when not to take action, and it’s about knowing when someone else’s skills are superior in a given situation. In this situation, the one-on-one skills of Lou Williams and Jrue Holiday are most suited to late-game conditions, although the choice should always be dependent on which Sixer is hottest during that particular game.
The Iguodala end-of-game act tires me and most other fans. His skill set, as explained well in the article, was not designed for end-of-game situations. He’s not a good shooter from the perimeter or the line. And it gets worse in clutch situations, as, according to 82games.com, shoots just 33% in “clutch” situations, much worse than his 44.6% overall shooting percentage.
But of course, this wouldn’t be a rebuttal if I didn’t agree with the main point of the article: that Andre shouldn’t have the ball in game-clinching situations. Her counter: that the ball should go to whomever has the best match up, but in general to Holiday or Lou.
Advanced “clutch” statistics from 82games.com support the assertion that Andre should not have control of the ball in late-game situations. He takes more shots on average at a lower percentage and shoots a worse percentage from the free throw line. Even more damning is his 83% jump shot percentage (as a percentage of total field goal attempts). Though these are all subject to small sample size problems, there’s plenty to dislike about Andre’s late-game play.
What he doesn’t do, that helps the team, is commit turnovers. With only 5 in clutch situations, despite getting the basketball virtually every time, is actually impressive. Knowing that a shot will at least be attempted 90% of the time is huge, especially given the potential for tip-backs or offensive rebounds.
Also, the other potential playmakers have even worse records in the “clutch” . Lou Williams, for example, shoots under 28% from the floor in those spots. Jrue Holiday shoots a much better 44% in these spots, but, like the end of regulation in Milwaukee, is prone to turnovers. As in, despite his limited clutch attempts, he has committed 11 turnovers (to 12 assists).
While Brand is setting a career-low in turnovers per game, do you trust him to pass out of a double-team late? Can he make a play for someone else? I don’t think so. What about Thad? Do you foresee the same scenario? Can he set anyone else up without committing a game-breaking turnover? No, he probably can’t.
Andre can get to the rim, can score and can set up teammates for good looks, while he usually get some type of shot off. No, he doesn’t shoot well and should do his best to avoid it, though opponents will always try to force him outside. He’s not an ideal closer, but he’s better than any other option we have. That’s a personnel issue, not a pride issue, and there’s not much the Sixers can do about it (unless Antonio Daniels becomes Mr. Clutch).