Iggy Watch: Andre Iguodala a chameleon on Team USA

July 21, 2012; Barcelona, SPAIN; USA forward Andre Iguodala during practice in preparation for the 2012 London Olympic Games at Palau Sant Jordi. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

Basketball is historically ever-changing. Rules and the evolution of talent, the change in skill-sets -- it all makes the game variable depending if you're playing in the NCAA, the NBA or in FIBA ball. Adaptation is key. Heck, an amateur who plays on an air-conditioned hardwood court in Arizona, an outdoor court in Dublin, Ohio, or a halfcourt asphalt court in New York City, must adapt to conditions, rules and styles.

One player who will never cease to change with the hoops environment is one Andre Iguodala. He's the chameleon of the sport, his skill-set and talents so undefined that, really, they should and can work anywhere.

Not in the NBA. Expectations and the ominous cloud of that assumed role of superstar put him in a tricky position in Philly. But as Mike Prada writes, it's Iguodala's place on Team USA that makes him so unique, so invaluable as that undefined player.

When Team USA opens its 2012 Olympic experience in London at 9:30 a.m. EDT on NBC Sunday, Iguodala's worth will be showcased for the world.

He was one of the final pieces of the puzzle for Jerry Colangelo and Coach K, but it's not far-fetched that he should've been one of the first names on the roster. While LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant are automatics, Iguodala's place beside them shouldn't be underestimated.

He's the chameleon of basketball.

Per Prada:

Iguodala's the perfect fill-in guy, really, capable of addressing so many needs beyond scoring. He's an elite playmaker for his position, he moves without the ball and he defends multiple positions. He's become a good enough spot-up shooter to mask that weakness.

In international ball, he can play on the wing or he can do a little bit inside. He can be called upon to facilitate ball movement when Team USA starts to get stagnant. In short, he's the kind of player the team never valued in 2002 and 2004, when Team USA hit its lowest point internationally.

Iguodala's talents call for this exact kind of role. And yet, due mostly to circumstance, he's never been able to fill it in the NBA.

In the 2010 World Championships, Iguodala's statistics weren't overly impressive. Yet, he was the veteran presence on a very young team that was led by the blossoming of Durant. He started at the shooting guard slot to act as a hounding perimeter defender, and he did as well on defense as Durant did on offense in leading the Americans that had little star power outside of Durant.

Now, Kobe Bryant fills that same starting role. So what's Iguodala to do?


Off the bench and alongside Russell Westbrook, the second unit will intensify the defensive pressure. Iguodala has improved his spot-up shooting and he proved that by scoring 18 points in a tune-up against the Dominican Republic.

It's reminiscent of Iggy's role with Arizona in his freshman season.

With a roster loaded with talent, Iguodala and fellow freak athlete Hassan Adams came off the bench to provide length, energy and a skill-set that the starters lacked. Teams, understandably, had less depth. And the Wildcats were wildly successful with their freak of nature second unit that made for one of the most entertaining duos to come through Tucson.

The same Iguodala will play the same role for his country. And with stern opponents such as Argentina and Spain, the chameleon of a player that struggles to please in the NBA could be the difference between gold and anything but.

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