Apr 5, 2012, 2:28 PM EDT
Andre Iguodala is using a lot of logic here. That’s never going to work.
Iguodala is one of the game’s best wing defenders, and he told Sports Illustrated (via Ball Don’t Lie) that part of that comes from how he has been asked to be a go-to (or secondary) scorer over the years. And if it worked for him….
“I learned from being a go-to guy what I didn’t like,” Iguodala says. “Coaches tell you, ‘Get to the hole. Don’t settle for jump shots.’ So when I guard somebody, I want them to settle for jumpers—outside the paint but inside the three-point line—and then use my length to contest late.” Iguodala memorizes where opponents hold the ball before they raise it up. Bryant is the toughest to strip because he cradles the ball by his hip; Lakers forward Metta World Peace might appear to be the easiest, because he puts it in front of his body, but he is trying to draw cheap fouls.
“It makes no sense to me why so many good scorers can’t defend,” Iguodala says. “Like Lou Williams. He’s one of the toughest guys to guard in the league, but he can’t guard anybody. I don’t get that.”
That would be Iggy’s teammate Lou Williams.
Defense at the NBA level is really about effort and desire — you’re not there unless you’re a pretty good athlete. Despite what Metta World Peace believes he used to do, you can’t shut down the best scorers completely — good defense will beat good offense in the NBA. You can defend Dirk Nowitzki perfectly and he’s still going to hit a lot of 19-foot fade-aways.
But you can make guys work for it. Iguodala makes guys work for it. Other NBA stars do it when asked — Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade — but they also try to conserve their energy for the offensive end. Where they also have to carry a heavy load.
But a lot of guys don’t have that same passion for defense — there is no glory in defense (or at least that is the perception). Save your energy for the offensive end.
Iggy just doesn’t get that.