Here's how I see the way I'm supposed to do my job. I want to be an extension of the fans, ask the questions to the players and coaches that the fans want answered.
As writers, we are obviously afforded the right to do just that. We are expected to be keen in our observations and find answers to the questions that are circling the teams and athletes we cover.
I could see at a very early point last season that Eddie Jordan and many of the Sixers' players weren't seeing eye-to-eye, though no one would say so on the record. I think I see a very good point guard developing in Jrue Holiday. I think that the confidence level of Evan Turner is growing both on and off the court, and that his game over the rest of the season will benefit. I think the team needs a good, tough center to get into one of the top four spots in the Eastern Conference playoff spots, eventually, and that a big, dead-eye shooting guard would be so helpful. I think the Sixers have a lot of nice peripheral pieces.
Those are a lot of things I think. Here is one thing I know: I am baffled by Andre Iguodala.
During the course of a season, a beat writer interacts with the players every day for close to seven-straight months. There are games, practices, shootarounds. There's talk of so many things other than basketball - family, other sports, social life, politics. There's laughter, arguments - the normal stuff that occurs between people who see (too much of) each other.
Iguodala may be the only player I've never just talked to, non-basketball. And that's ok. My point is that is just how the fans feel with him - non-connected.
In the win against Denver Sunday night, he was by far the best player on the court. Iguodala has referred to himself numerous times as an upper echelon player. Coaches and players throughout the league refer to him as such, also. When I went to see him practice in New York this summer with the USA Team, Mike Krzyzewski stated without hesitation that Iguodala was one of the best all-around players on the team. Sunday, he smothered Carmelo Anthony better than a 12-inch snowstorm on a parked car. He also scored 24 points, dealt seven assists. He hit big shots, made the right passes, dove for loose balls. Guided the team in the fourth quarter when the Nuggets dwindled the lead to seven and visions of a late game collapse started to penetrate. In short, his care showed.
When that happens, it is something the fan can grasp. Iguodala told me this summer when he was in Greece that he was reading a book about how body language reflects a person. It seemed so appropriate, because reading his body language is like trying to decipher a book in a foreign language. Maybe it's unfair to judge a player by the way we see his demeanor on the court. Because if you just look at the numbers Iguodala puts up just about every night, maybe he's a piece the Sixers should look to have as they try to turn the corner. Not a player to build around, but to just have around.
Or maybe he isn't. I really don't know. I'm baffled.
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