The last time we sat down in front of our TVs to watch a Philadelphia
76er play in Sunday night's NBA All-Star Game—assuming that there wasn't
a good Entourage or Sopranos episode or whatever to
compete—it was in 2006, Allen Iverson's last appearance as a Sixer. (AI
was voted as a starter in the midst of his second Philly go-round in
'10, but declined to play.) Since then, we haven't really even earned so
much an arguable snub, but this year, with the Sixers' 20-9 start to
the season, it was practically unavoidable that the City of Brotherly
Love would get a rep in the Late-Winter Classic. And indeed, for the
first time in his career, tonight Sixers' do-almost-everything swingman
Andre Iguodala will be lacing up as one of the game's 24 best.
We shouldn't expect a huge amount of PT for 'Dre—there's a glut of small
forwards in front of AI9 on the East roster, including such big names
as LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Paul Pierce and Luol Deng. (OK, Deng's
not really a big name, but his coach Tom Thibodeau is captaining the
East roster, and has the tendency to Deng him about 45 minutes a night,
so you have to think Thibs is gonna funnel some of Dre's minutes his way
anyway.) Still, as Evan Turner showed during the Rising Stars game, a
guy who can run the floor, pass the ball and fill up a box score such as
Evan or Andre can be hugely valuable in a game such as this—and if
Thibodeau actually wants to win, he's gonna need a healthy dose of
'Dre's defense on Kobe Bryant, who always racks up points early in these
games by being the only player on the court to actually try for the
first 36 minutes.
7:45 tip from the Amway Center. No matter how much he does or does not
play in this game, we're incredibly proud of our AI9 for bringing the
Sixers back to All-Star Sunday, and we feel he's more than earned the
right to play with the league's elite guys in such a game. Just, uh,
maybe don't run too many plays for him in the final 90 seconds, Thibs.
Not really his thing.