Make no mistake about it, Andre Iguodala is having a fine year. The veteran forward was selected to his first All-Star game and has been mentioned as a potential Defensive Player of the Year candidate. While his scoring is down at 12.6 PPG, Iguodala has continued to stuff the statsheet as he always has while being the leader of a first place team.
But as the shine of a 20-9 start begins to wear off, the 76ers fans are getting restless. Going into tonight's game against Boston, the Sixers are 2-8 in their last 10 and have seen their once sizeable lead over the Celtics shrink to just a game. That stretch has shown the Sixers go ice cold offensively in the final minutes of close games, primarily because they lack an offensive star who can create his own shot.
Making almost $14MM this year, that player is supposed to be Iguodala. But as he showed on Sunday night against Chicago – where he airballed two pivotal attempts in the last few minutes – it probably is not. Iguodala's ineffectiveness at the end of games has led the team to turn to sixth man Louis Williams to take the final shot. Williams is a nice "instant offense" type of player, but he is not who a team wants deciding games for them if they intend to go deep in the playoffs.
Another issue is the lack of chemistry between Iguodala and Evan Turner – neither of whom is a traditional shooting guard. Turner's minutes have been down for the last month and the most popular theory is that those two cannot play together – prompting John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Daily News to suggest that one of them needs to go. As mentioned by Luke Adams, Smallwood thinks it will be Turner.
While I disagree that Turner will be moved, all of the elements mentioned above definitely point to the Sixers needing to make a decision at some point. They need a star, or at least someone who can create (and make) their own shot. With Iguodala due nearly $30MM in the two years after this one, the Sixers would need to take salary back to make a trade work.
How about a swap centered around Iguodala and the recently signed Marcus Thornton? Iguodala's defensive prowess would fit nicely around offensive studs Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento Meanwhile, Thornton's scoring and three point shooting would be a good fit in Philly. ESPN Trade Machine likes a straight up Iguodala-for-Thornton swap. Doug Collins and Rod Thorn both love Iguodala, so it is just speculation at this point, but it's clear that Philadelphia needs to do something, whether this year or very soon, if they want to compete with the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference.