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Is Denver using Andre Iguodala wrong? Flip Saunders says yes.

Dec 14, 2012, 2:57 PM EDT

Andre Iguodala AP

One quarter of the way into the season, ask me my most disappointing team and I’ll say the Denver Nuggets. Sure, the Lakers and Pacers can be on that list too, but I came into this season with high hopes for the Nuggets to be a very entertaining team, only to see them 11-12 and listless.

They are not running teams out of the building with all those athletes like expected and hoped for — Andre Iguodala added to this roster was supposed to improve their defense and let them flourish in transition. Instead Iguodala’s game has taken a step back, their defense has been worse than last season, and teams that don’t defend can’t run taking the ball out of the basket. When they do run, the are 21st in the league in scoring efficiency, reports Synergy Sports. It’s nothing like what was planned.

What went wrong? Well a few things, but former NBA coach and current ESPN analyst Flip Saunders told KFAN 100.3 FM in Minnesota the problem starts with how they are using Iguodala (transcribed by Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post).

“Their biggest thing which hurt them was they got rid of Arron Afflalo, who could knock down 3s, gave them a toughness, and they brought in Andre Iguodala — but he’s really not a two, he’s more of a three. So what happened is they don’t have that solid two. I’ve never liked him as a two, I always thought he was better at a three. So they have a little bit of a logjam.”

Afflalo is a glue guy — defends, knocks down threes, efficient. But the Sixers pieces — Iggy, Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried and so on — should fit together better than they do. Denver is not getting what they expected or paid for out of JaVale McGee for sure, but this is more than that. Iguodala is clearly struggling with his role and being a scorer more than a guy making plays with the ball in his hands.

But for me it all starts on the defensive end — they don’t need to be the Chicago Bulls but they have to get stops and force turnovers or they can’t use all that athleticism and speed in transition. Denver is bottom 10 in turnovers forced per game. If Denver starts to defend better they can start to play to their strengths.

And maybe Iggy will find his footing.

  1. raidmagic - Dec 14, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    t. But the Sixers pieces — Iggy, Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried and so on — should fit together better than they do.

    The Sixers, huh?

  2. mrchainbluelightning - Dec 14, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    Tough to win when you’re getting destroyed by nearly every and any big night to night. Fact is the Nuggets have nobody at center to stop anyone, and their 4 has a ton of heart and athletic ability, but is undersized and over-matched nightly.

  3. somekat - Dec 14, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Funny how everyone “uses Iggy wrong”. Maybe he’s just not very good, and just looked better because the Sixers were forced to run the team through him due to his contract. He wouldn’t be the first guy who looked good on bad teams

    • scalfor3 - Dec 15, 2012 at 12:41 AM

      iggys good. he just wasn’t quite superstar good

  4. jmclarkent - Dec 14, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    I agree with the “wrong position” statement – though usually somewhat interchangeable, Iggy has always been better at the 3. Denver seems like a team full of “trade pieces”.

  5. tcclark - Dec 15, 2012 at 1:35 AM

    He’s absolutely right. He is a point-forward, not a shooting guard. He’s not a Ray Allen, or Richard Hamilton, or Kobe Bryant. He’s not even a non-traditional shooting guard like Dwayne Wade, Jamal Crawford, or his former teammate Allen Iverson. His skills are best suited as a 3. He has a forwards body, guards forwards really well, and doesn’t have the shooting ability or even the release to play off the ball.This team absolutely has a logjam at the 3 and 4. Personally, I would have Faried provide energy off the bench, have Iguodala play the 3, and play Gallinari as a stretch 4. Let Gallo develop into a Dirk Nowitzki type player. Then you would have to start Mcgee to help out Gallinari against bigger players.

    The problem with this though is that you don’t have a shooting guard. Brewer has developed his shot a bit and you may be able to play him there, but he’s more of a three as well. You could move Lawson to the two and start Andre Miller at the point. That would work offensively, but between that backcourt and Gallo at the four, they would get killed defensively. Wilson chandler might work when he gets back, but you’d have to see how that lineup works. Either way the answer is yes. They are using Iguodala wrong

  6. tfoz5150 - Dec 15, 2012 at 9:28 PM

    Waaa! He’s not who we thought he was. BTW he hates being called Iggy. He wants to be called Dre. Go ask Doug Collins.

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