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]