Andre Iguodala Hasn't Enjoyed Basketball the Last Couple of Years -- Your Fault

Andre Iguodala Hasn't Enjoyed Basketball the Last Couple of Years -- Your Fault

While Philadelphia prepares itself for the Andrew Bynum show, Andre Iguodala has been quietly going about his business in Denver -- until now.

In a wide-ranging interview with Matt Moore of CBSSports.com's blog Eye on Basketball (via Liverty Ballers), Iguodala opened up about his eight seasons with the 76ers. He admits criticism started to weigh on him toward the end of his run, and explains why he's not the player you think he is.

The money line is the revelation that playing in a city that too often did not appreciate his contributions made it tough for Iguodala go to work everyday.

"I haven't really enjoyed basketball a whole lot the last couple of years," Iguodala said. "Last year was a big year for us, but it was just draining for the criticism to be there every single day."

Obviously it wasn't everybody, but it's certainly true Iguodala became the target of fans' frustrations, largely due to his contract and role on the team. Even those who acknowledged he wasn't the source of the franchise's problems were usually playing armchair GM and trying to trade him. It never ended, not even during a season where Iguodala made his first All-Star game and the Sixers advanced into the second round of the playoffs.

So it should come as no surprise that, yes, he heard you, and yeah, it kinda made him miserable.

But Iguodala also takes umbrage with those who have tried to pick apart his game over the years. He claims the only reason Andre Iguodala wasn't going out and scoring 25 points every night is circumstance.

"First of all, in the East, there weren't that many possessions." (This is true. According to NBA.com, of the 10 lowest teams in number of possessions per game last season, eight were from the Eastern Conference, three from the Atlantic Division, including Philadelphia.)

"And on the team I was on," Iguodala continued, "I lead the team in assists. So I was put in the position to be a facilitator. But it wasn't put out there like I was a facilitator. When we lost games, it would be that I didn't score enough. But when we're winning and the ball's moving, it's flowing, 'Andre's a great facilitator.'

"So my whole thing is just go out there and do what I do. Try to get the most out of my teammates. Help them improve as players and as people. Make the most of the stuation and enjoy it."

Iguodala adds that coaches, including Doug Collins, often reigned in his shooting. Defiantly, he defends his shot, adding he was top-25 in the NBA in three-point percentage last season.

I think it's okay for Iguodala to be defensive, and if that attitude helps him somehow in Denver, great. He was a good soldier here for eight years, so I'll be rooting for him to succeed in Denver.

Love him or hate him though, the opportunity presented itself to make the 76ers better, and the team jumped at it. Maybe Iguodala is right, and fans, media, and coaches did try to squeeze his ability. All that really matters in Philadelphia is, whatever his ability, it wasn't enough.

>> Is the world ready for Andre Iguodala? [Eye on Basketball]

Steve Mason rediscovers himself in New York just before Flyers return

Steve Mason rediscovers himself in New York just before Flyers return

It had been a while since Steve Mason saw himself.

Walking into the Barclays Center on Sunday, the Flyers’ goalie was 0-6-2 with a 4.03 goals-against average and .844 save percentage over his last 10 appearances (see more recent Flyers numbers and stats).

A far cry from how Mason truly sees himself in net.

But heading into Wednesday’s rivalry clash with the Rangers, Mason will have something to build on, something he couldn’t say since Dec. 21 — the last time he had earned a victory. He’s fresh off his first win in over a month, a gigantic one for Mason considering all the key moments on Sunday the Flyers hope invigorate his confidence.

Without numerous clutch stops from their goalie, the Flyers don’t come back from two goals down to beat the Islanders, 3-2, in overtime. Mason made four saves  — three on four-time All-Star John Tavares — in just over a minute of a third-period power play. The Flyers ended up having to kill two New York man advantages in the final 10 minutes of regulation in order to force overtime.

The extra session is when Mason was just as good, if not better, stoning Tavares on a breakaway attempt that had game-winner written all over it. Mason made four saves in overtime after 13 in the third period.

“I was happy with the way that, personally, this game went for myself,” Mason said Sunday. “It’s been a tough stretch and this is more the type of game that I expect of myself. In recent games, the team was lacking the big saves and tonight it shows what kind of difference it can make.”

It was a massive performance heading into a massive three-game stretch against the Rangers, Maple Leafs and Hurricanes.

“Mase made some huge saves for us,” Simmonds said. “It allowed us to get back in that game.

“It’s not just Mase [with the] ups and downs. Everyone in here has been kind of fighting it and squeezing sticks pretty tight. That one felt good and I think Mase led the charge for sure.”

Mason understands just one game doesn’t turn around a season.

“It’s nice to feel good after a game,” Mason said. “At the same time, whether you’re winning or losing, you have to have a short mindset and get ready for the next one.”

That brings the Flyers to Madison Square Garden Wednesday to face the Rangers, who they’ve lost five straight games to dating back to last season. Mason hasn’t had much luck against New York this season, allowing seven goals in two losses with an .860 save percentage. However, in 2015-16, Mason put up a 1.74 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in five games against the Rangers.

“That’s going to be a tough game going into MSG,” Mason said Tuesday (see story).

The good thing: Mason was in New York two days ago, remembering what he can be.

Manute Bol's 7-foot, 17-year-old son dominates in HS season debut

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Manute Bol's 7-foot, 17-year-old son dominates in HS season debut

Bol Bol, the 17-year-old son of the late Manute Bol, is a top high school basketball prospect with offers from schools like Arizona, Kansas and Creighton. This highlight tape should give you an idea why.
 
Bol, whose father played in the NBA for parts of 12 seasons, including 215 games for the Sixers, now attends the famed Mater Dei High School in California and played in his first game of the season this past weekend. Listed as the No. 16 overall prospect in the 2018 recruiting class by Scout, Bol started his season off with a big 21-point, 10-rebound effort.
 
Take a look at the highlight tape from the 6-foot-11 Bol and expect to see him carry on his father’s legacy on the court at a major NCAA college basketball program soon.