This season Andre Iguodala finds himself in a different jersey for the first time in his eight-year career.
Once Allen Iverson left the Philadelphia 76ers in 2006, Iguodala was set to take his place. He was looked at by fans to be the player to carry their beloved 76ers into the playoffs and to a Championship. While he never took Philly to the NBA Finals, he did take them to the playoffs four of the six seasons after Iverson was shipped to Denver. Most fans would say that he didn’t live up to their expectations but that could be because they’re still stuck on Iverson. Iggy averaged 16.8 points per game during that six year stretch, averaging a career high 19.9 points per game in the 2007-08 season. But since that season, his points are going down every single season. Last season he posted just 12.4 per game. While his scoring was fading, his numbers in assists and rebounds were coming up. This could be attributed to being surrounded by players such as current teammate Andre Miller.
In Philly, Iguodala felt that he was carrying a struggling team and city on his back. Philly fans are known to be one of the harshest in sports, just ask anyone who plays for the Eagles. With players and coaches coming and going, it was hard for him to get accustomed to cosistency. These factors undoubtedly took its toll on Iguodala, as it would for any player. The 76ers saw four different head coaches in the post Iverson era.
Now in Denver, all of those factors seem to be accounted for. For starters, the Nuggets have an established coach in George Karl. Karl is going on his 9th season as the Nuggets head coach, making the playoffs each year but looking for a bigger push going forward. Iguodala can provide that push. The Nuggets also have a solid lineup surrounding Iggy. Players like Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried, JaVale McGee, and Danilo Gallinari provide some stress relief for Iguodala in Denver. He doesn’t have to carry a team. He can become that leader that he is capable of becoming.
This season, like most of his seasons, has started out rocky. But with Ty Lawson and Andre Miller running point for the Nuggets, look for Iguodala to settle in and become a staple for the Nuggets, offensively and defensively. And if he has a bad game here or there, Nuggets fans should remember what he is capable of. Andre Iguodala has an Olympic Gold Medal, a FIBA World Championship Gold Medal, was a 2012 NBA All Star, an NBA All-Defensive Second Team selection in 2011, and an NBA All-Rookie First Team selection in 2005.
Philadelphia may have not been the place for Iguodala to soar, but maybe he can spread his wings and fly in the Mile High City.