NBA Playoffs: Is Andre Iguodala playing the right role for Philadelphia?

Six former Arizona Wildcats are playing in the 2011 NBA Playoffs. Five of the eight first round series include Wildcats.

In the first day of action, Arizona players combined to earn a 2-2 record overall. Over the next few weeks, Desert Swarm will be bringing you updates, short quips and thoughts about Arizona players from the past playing in the NBA postseason.

There's a reason why the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote this piece on how passionate 76ers fans will go out of their way to cuss out former Arizona star Andre Iguodala on the street.

Expectations. Sometimes they're unfair. For the upbeat Iggy, being the default savior after Allen Iverson came with a price.

 

The only game that involves a Wildcat on each side, Iguodala's Philadelphia 76ers fell to Mike Bibby's Miami Heat. Iguodala had the task of covering LeBron James, and for the most part did an excellent job.

Iggy only scored four points, but he played 37 minutes and contributed nine assists and eight rebounds while doing his part in holding King James to 4-for-14 shooting.

It's an interesting development -- or perhaps lack thereof -- in Iguodala's game the past few seasons. Once considered the franchise player, he's willingly taken a backseat, which has allowed for the growth of young guns Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young.

So columnist John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Inquirer doesn't understand the reaction to Iggy's lack of superstardom either. He also points out that Iggy wasn't drafted to replace Iverson but compliment him:

Iverson was a natural-born game-dominator. Iguodala is a facilitator. His all-around skills weren't going to fill the void left by Iverson.

But here's the deal. Taking only seven shots and no free throws, Iguodala's 76ers failed to score above the 20 point mark in the three quarters after a 31-point outburst in the first quarter of their Game 1 against the Heat.

Yes, Iguodala does have the role of a facilitator and defensive stopper, but on the other hand, he's one of the lone veterans on head coach Doug Collins' team. Aside from Elton Brand, Iguodala needs to lead by example -- he has the athleticism and skill to at the very least attack the basket more frequently and get to the foul stripe.

Of course, Iguodala's demeanor is one very much like another Wildcat who's left as a sophomore -- Derrick Williams. Both are team players to the point of it almost being a fault.

That must be the thinking in Philly, where fans saw Iguodala's ceiling being shorter than expected.

But even so, to steal a game or two, Iguodala will have to be more aggressive on the offensive end. Even if that means breaking out of his role, just a little bit.

Is it good for Iguodala to be quiet on offense and stay within his role, or does the veteran need to be more aggressive for the 76ers to have a chance?

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