The Morning Extras: What Is Andre Iguodala?

The Morning Extras: What Is Andre Iguodala?

Superstar, either now or on the verge of becoming one? An All Star caliber player stuck on a crappy team? Potential supporting cast member for a contender? Simply a role player? Or, perhaps, just another guy altogether? The only thing we seem to be all in agreement over is Iguodala is no superstar. If the debate in the comments is any indication though, even Sixers fans who follow this team closely haven't been able to reach a consensus.

One thing is certain, and that is Iguodala seems to be falling out of favor around the league. ESPN's Bill Simmons released his annual Top 40 Trade Value column last week, and even with a dozen or so honorable mentions on the list, the face of the Sixers is nowhere to be found. That's only a drop in the bucket. In the newest edition of Sports Illustrated, a poll of 173 NBA players named Iguodala one of the most overrated players in the league.

If you need any more proof than fellow NBA-ers ranking him one of the most overrated players—you know, the guys who actually step on the court with Iguodala—you're probably beyond convincing. The insinuation isn't even he's a bad player, but nobody outside Ed Stefanski and a pocket of fans seem to think of him in terms of having All Star ability, as evidenced by his inability to sniff the All Star game (who the hell is David Lee?).

To be fair, the poll came up with some odd choices. The same number of people who thought Iguodala is overrated consider LeBron James overrated. It's not scientific, the condition of being overrated. The difference is LeBron is going to compete for a championship, while the Sixers are struggling to even sneak into the playoffs as the eight seed. Nobody cares what you are, as long as you win.

In my own estimations, Iguodala falls somewhere in between this spectrum. He clearly is no superstar. That much is painfully obvious by the Sixers' constant positioning below .500, but he can help a good team. Unfortunately that's not going to be here anytime soon, which once again begs the question: why do they insist upon clinging to this guy?

LINKS

• For the right amount of money, Julius Peppers can be an Eagle. Many are warning though that he takes too many plays off. That never prevented Randy Moss from greatness. [SI.com]

• Clark Judge believes hiring special teams coach Bobby April will have one of the greatest impacts of any assistant coaching hire this off-season. Imagine DeSean now... [CBS Sports]

• The bidding has ended for Joe Paterno's autographed spectacles. The glasses sold for $9,000. Very strange collectible... [ESPN]

• Brad Lidge can begin throwing off the mound. It's a new year. Let's see if he an reclaim some of his '08 magic. [Phillies Files]

• While he remains with a contender after signing with the Yankees, Chan Ho Park's gamble didn't pay off. The reliever accepted a deal worth less money when nobody stepped up to beat the Phillies offer or give him a chance to start. [Crashburn Alley]

• On the lighter side, the Phillies are up to their usual spring training antics. [The Zo Zone]

• Asking the question who should be between the pipes for the Flyers. My vote is Leighton. [Philly Burbs]

• The best take you will ever read on the Tiger Woods press conference. [SB Nation]

COMMENT OF THE DAY

ill give ed wade as much shit as the next guy (i still remember the time i sat near him at a game in DC near the end of the 2006 season when the phillies were in the hunt for the wild card and i said "ed, are we gonna make the playoffs this year?" and in the most laconic, dispassionate way replied "well, we'll see"...it was not the vote of confidence i wanted from him at the time), but he deserves credit for putting together most of the nucleus for the 2008 WFC.

still this was the guy who landed in a tree when he went skydiving...

- Poster Nutbag

Always felt the timing of Ed Wade's firing was off. Doubt they get over the hump without a general manager who could a) pull off a decent trade at the deadline, and b) identify productive contributors on the free agent/waiver garbage heap. At the same time, they only decided to part with him once things really started turning around.

Of course, it's reasonable to wonder how responsible Wade was for assembling that core, and how much of it was actually Mike Arbuckle.

THE BONUS: "BUDDY COP" MOVIES

This is in reference to the steaming pile of manure Die Hard bad-ass Bruce Willis will appear in along side Tracy Morgan beginning this Friday. By the way, who coined the phrase buddy cop movie? It's stupid. We're now taking suggestions for what these films should really be called (redundant cop movies?).

My personal favorite: Starsky and Hutch. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are great together. Throw in a dash of Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell, plus Snoop Dogg as Huggy Bear, and you've got yourself a classic. This never really seemed to catch on all that much, but on the topic of overrated versus underrated, this is a very under-appreciated film. It's on AMC with a fair degree of frequency, so check it out.

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Flyers-Islanders 5 things: Still trying to clean up mistakes after bye week

Flyers-Islanders 5 things: Still trying to clean up mistakes after bye week

Flyers (22-19-6) at Islanders (19-17-8)
6 p.m. – CSN/CSNPhilly.com and streaming live on the NBCSports app; Pregame Live begins at 5:30.
 
The struggling Flyers head north Sunday night to battle the Metropolitan Division rival Islanders at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
 
Let’s take a closer look at Sunday’s matchup.
 
1. New week, same Flyers
Those hoping the Flyers would be a refreshed, recharged team after the bye week met a harsh reality Saturday night.
 
The Flyers were blown out of the Wells Fargo Center in a 4-1 loss to the Devils that saw the same things continue to haunt the home team — defensive breakdowns and a lack of offense, among other things.
 
It’s no secret this season is quickly slipping away from the Flyers. They’ve lost their hold on the last wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference to the upstart Maple Leafs and the Hurricanes, Panthers and Devils are breathing right down the Flyers’ backs. To pile on the good news, every other team in the East is within four points of the Flyers, including the last-place Isles, who have 46 points compared to the Flyers’ 50 points.
 
Needless to say, the margin for error is all but gone.
 
This has been said many times recently, but the emphasis still hasn’t waned — if the Flyers want to save this season, it has to start with the next game.
 
2. What’s the mindset?
Michal Neuvirth, who was pulled before the third period of Saturday’s game for “precautionary reasons,” had a striking quote after the loss to the Devils.
 
“When you lose so many games, you lose confidence,” he told reporters.
 
He’s not kidding, and further proof of that came in the loss to the Devils, when the game was tied 1-1. In the second period, Radko Gudas was whistled for a clipping penalty and, boy, was it an awful call. It was nothing more than a hard hip check, aka a solid hockey play. Gudas got the two-minute minor and then Wayne Simmonds received an extra two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct for protesting the call, giving Jersey a full two-man advantage.
 
Predictably, the Devils scored to take the lead. Also predictably, the Flyers unraveled after that point.
 
It just seems lately that when something goes wrong for the Flyers, it all goes wrong for the Flyers. And that’s a troubling trend.

3. Changes in Brooklyn
Superstar John Tavares is still there, but beside that, plenty has changed since the Flyers and Islanders last met, a 3-2 Flyers shootout win in November at the Barclays Center.
 
No more Jack Capuano behind the Isles’ bench, as he was recently canned amidst his team’s struggles. Assistant general manager Doug Weight, whom you may remember from his not so distant playing days, is the interim head coach for the Isles.
 
Remember goalie Jaroslav Halak, who started the two teams’ first meeting? It’s no longer his net in Brooklyn, as he’s had a falling out with the club, lost the starting job to Thomas Greiss and was recently put on waivers.
 
And the Isles have responded positively to the changes, as they’ve won three in a row heading into Sunday night’s contest. The last-place moniker is misleading because the Isles are still just five points out of the final wild-card spot and still have tons of talent.
 
4. Keep an eye on …
Flyers: Let’s go with Travis Konecny. Let’s just say the Flyers are in need of an energy jolt these days and the rook has just the type of skillset to provide it. He scored his team’s only goal Saturday against the Devils and isn’t afraid to throw his body around if need be. He also scored against the Isles earlier this season. He’s now up to eight goals and 14 assists on the season.
 
Islanders: It has got to be John Tavares. The guy is an absolute star, but still could fit into the “underrated” or “under the radar” categories just because he plays for the Isles. I mean, check out this goal he scored earlier this year against St. Louis. Holy moly. While you’re at it, get a glimpse of this one he scored against Dallas last week. He’s got 19 goals and 17 assists on the year. In his career against the Flyers, he’s got 15 goals and 13 assists for 28 points, the third-most points he’s tallied against any team in the NHL.
 
5. This and that
• In a scheduling quirk, Sunday evening will mark the fourth straight time the Flyers and Islanders will play in Brooklyn. They haven’t met in Philadelphia in over a full calendar year — Jan. 9, 2016, a 4-0 Flyers win

• Sunday is the second of four meetings between the teams this season. They’ll also play Feb. 9 and March 30, both times in South Philly.

• Greiss will start in net for the Isles on Sunday. He’s recorded shutouts in his last two starts. For the season, he's 12-7-2 with a .927 save percentage and a 2.29 goals-against average.

• Reinforcements could be on the way Sunday for the Islanders, as forward Cal Clutterbuck (lower-body) and defenseman Johnny Boychuk (upper-body) could be ready to return to the lineup after injuries.

• Sunday’s game will be the second of a back-to-back set for both teams. The Flyers are 6-3-2 this year in such situations.

• The Flyers’ ugly road losing streak is up to nine games. A loss Sunday would make it a not-so-perfect 10.

With T.J. McConnell, Hawks say Sixers have 'identity' worth respecting

With T.J. McConnell, Hawks say Sixers have 'identity' worth respecting

ATLANTA – The final score was a little lopsided and the game was sloppy at times, but after beating Philadelphia, 110-93, Saturday night, the Hawks said they see promise in the rising young Sixers.

The Sixers didn’t have the legs on the tail end of back-to-back games to keep up with another hot team, and Joel Embiid did not play, as Atlanta (26-18) won for the 11th time in 13 games to move within a half game of Boston for the No. 3 spot in the East.

Yet if not for the Sixers' 21 turnovers and a second quarter where Atlanta seemed to make every shot, the Sixers (15-27) looked enough like the team that had won eight of 10 games before arriving in Philips Arena that the Hawks see differences.

The biggest change in the Sixers between Saturday and the first two meetings of the season between these two teams — one played with Embiid and one without — is T.J. McConnell starting at point guard rather than Sergio Rodriguez.

McConnell had a game-high 11 assists against the Hawks in addition to his eight points, and the Sixers had 27 assists on a night where they hit 12 of 29 three-pointers.

“They have an identity,” said Atlanta forward Kent Bazemore, who scored 16. “McConnell is playing really well, putting pressure on the defense and their floor spacing is very good. Very disciplined group.

“Guys are in the right spots, if a guy drives, they have a plethora of options: a guy in the corner, a guy on the jumper, a guy on the wing. They kept us honest for a chunk of the game.”

Ersan Ilyasova scored 21 points on 15 shots and Robert Covington added 15 points and 10 rebounds, but the Sixers were gassed in the second quarter, as the Hawks hit 16 of 23 shots in a 37-point period.

Atlanta stretched a 62-54 halftime lead to 18 points late in the third quarter, but the Sixers cut the deficit to 94-87 with 6:46 left in the game on a pair of free throws by rookie Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.

The Sixers whipped the Hawks, 20-11, in fast break points.

“They were getting some threes in transition,” said Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer, who was on the Spurs' staff for years with Sixers head coach Brett Brown. “Right now, they’re pushing the pace.

“T.J. McConnell does a great job of getting outlets, getting up the court and finding shooters quickly and they’re letting it fly. Covington and Ilyasova and those guys are collapsing us early and shooting early threes.”

The Sixers had problems on the boards in Atlanta, where Dwight Howard grabbed 15 and Paul Millsap added 10 as the Hawks built a 48-38 rebounding edge. Those numbers were every bit as important as Millsap’s 21 points and the 13 added by Howard.

That disparity on the boards and the Sixers' collective loose handle did in the visitors. Atlanta scored 17 points off the Sixers’ 21 turnovers.

Embiid was scheduled to rest Saturday anyway. It’s unclear whether he’ll play Tuesday against the Clippers, who will be without guard Chris Paul and forward Blake Griffin, or Wednesday at Milwaukee.

Embiid suffered a knee contusion in Friday night’s 93-92 win over the Trail Blazers and Brown said he’d be further evaluated Sunday.

Get him back in the mix, and The Sixers have a shot at starting another winning streak.

“We did a good shot of holding them to one shot,” Howard said after the Hawks outscored the Sixers, 14-0, in second-chance points. “They play really hard. They play aggressive. They play good team basketball. They share the ball and find the open man. They have a good group of young guys.

“It wasn’t as easy as people expect out of Philly teams. You have to respect them.”