While the separation seemed amicable when it happened, it sure has turned a little bit to the ugly side now.
Former 76er Andre Iguodala, traded this offseason to the Denver Nuggets as part of the deal that brought center Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia from Los Angeles, said in an interview with Matt Moore, a blogger with CBSSports.com that, among other things, his time here in Philadelphia was draining, particularly under the tutelage of Doug Collins, his coach for three seasons.
Iguodala said in the interview: “I haven’t really enjoyed basketball a whole lot the last couple of years. Last year was a big year for us, but it was just draining for the criticism to be there every single day.”
He also talked of past coaches, including Collins, not wanting him to shoot three pointers: “"So in Doug Collins' first year, I didn't shoot threes because he was like, 'I don't want you shooting threes, I don't want that shot.' Last year I said, ‘I’m shooting it.’ And what happened? Shot 38 percent from three, top-25 in the NBA from three and I’m supposed to be a non-shooter. You put so much work in and then to be told ‘Don’t do what you worked on all summer.’”
It is no secret that Sixers fans could never warm to Iguodala, whether it was because of his standoffish personality with them or that they perhaps unfairly expected more out of him. Whatever it was, it was pretty apparent that Collins tried to sell Iguodala to the fans and media throughout the season, calling him the best on-ball defender in the league, campaigning for Iguodala to make the All-Star team and all-defensive teams. Iguodala did make his first All-Star appearance last season while being named second-team all-defensive the prior season. Iguodala was on the USA team that won gold in the World Championships in 2011 and the Olympic Team that captured gold in London this summer.
“I didn’t read anything but my feeling is that I had a wonderful two years with Dre,” said Collins. “I think he made me a better coach. The thing that I feel great about is that in the two years together – before I took the job I fought long and hard to really talk to Jerry Colangelo and Coach (Mike) K (Krzyzewski) about having Dre on the (World) Championship team and what he would bring to that team. Our first year we were plus-14 wins (from the previous season) and he was second team all defense. Our next year we go to the 7th game of the conference semifinals, he goes to the All-Star team and wins a gold medal. So I feel great about our time together.”
Iguodala and his new teammates will be the season-opening game for the Sixers on October 31 at the Wells Fargo Center. Seems the chance for him to get any kind of warm welcome has now been flushed.