To Andre Iguodala: Restraint

Credit: zimbio.com

Andre Iguodala is one of the best defensive players in the NBA. I don’t need to give him anything, except for possibly a better defensive center, to help. On the other end of the floor, however, I could give him a ton of gifts.

Iguodala, as we all know, is not a good jump shooter. The stats back up the visuals. From mid-range, he shot 37% (from StatsCube). From behind the three point line, he shot an uninspiring (but second to career best!) 33.4%. With numbers like those, one would hope he takes as few jumpers as possible. As you also may know, he took more jumpers than shots inside the paint.

I’ve mentioned numerous times his astounding assist/turnover ratio from last year: over 3 assists for every turnover. While that’s outstanding, especially for a non-point guard, his ratio I think was inflated by the amount of jumpers he takes. For instance, pulling up from 20 feet for a contested jumper than misses by a ton does not count as a turnover, just a missed shot.

This is the key to this present, be it true or not: it’s been a theory of mine that his turnover totals were depressed because he chose to pull up for bad jumpers instead of driving into the lane, trying to make a play for himself or his teammates. He could have consciously done this, because he’s not a good foul shooter (under 70% last year, continuing a downward trend). He may have subconsciously done this, as his knee injury could have robbed him of some explosion. But for whatever reason, his turnovers decreased as he began to take more control of the offense, which really shouldn’t happen for someone whose handle isn’t the best in the world. I think this is why. He took more jumpers relative to his overall shot total because he wasn’t as capable at getting to the rim.

So in other words, his much improved assist/turnover ratio is a mirage – he’s traded some turnovers for some bad shot opportunities.

Iguodala has said this preseason that the rest he received over the summer allowed him to recover from those injuries. That could result in a reversal of both trends: he increasingly good assist/turnover ratio and his increasingly bad affinity for pull-up jumpers. The amount of jumpers he takes is unacceptable given the rate at which he converts them. With a hopefully healthy knee, Iguodala can reverse the trend toward more jumpers – restraining from taking the easy way out of possessions. And if he improves, maybe he can keep the turnover success intact as well.

This all, of course, depends on what his teammates can do as well. Iguodala was the “go-to guy” at the end of many possessions and games, even though he’s clearly misplaced in that role. The lack of another competent person for this role, however, forced him into duty. If the Sixers can find someone else to make plays (I can think of two young guards – Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday – that have some of the traits needed to become the go-to guy), then Iguodala can relinquish this role.

If Iguodala can focus on what he does best and isn’t forced into a position where he won’t succeed, he can be an all-star. And hopefully, my gift of restraint puts him one step closer to that all-star level.

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