Andre Iguodala Turns the Corner

Andre Iguodala

Big things were expected from Andre Iguodala after he signed a six-year, $80 million contract this summer. Unfortunately, he's been slow out of the gate, averaging just 13 points on 39% shooting in October/November while fading into the background as Elton Brand carved out his niche, Thaddeus Young asserted himself and Andre Miller picked up the slack.

But finally, with a quarter of the season in the books, the old Iguodala is starting to shine through. The 76ers lost the game on Saturday, but for the first time in the team's 22 games this year, Iguodala led the team in scoring.

Sure, it's a minor victory in the face of a loss (and it wasn't wholly unexpected given Brand's absence), but there's no denying that Iggy has seemed to turn the corner: in four games this month, he's averaging 19.5 points and 8.3 boards on 49.2% shooting.

What was behind Iggy's slow start? Speaking to the press before Friday's game, Mo Cheeks dismissed the notion that Iguodala struggled to adjust from the three to the two, pointing out that in Philly's system the two positions are quite similar.

I asked Cheeks if he thought Iguodala's new contract might have been a factor, but Cheeks didn't think so. "No, I didn't see him pressing, I didn't sense that at all," Cheeks said. "I thought he was just playing." Indeed, while most of us were fretting about his scoring average, Iguodala was still coming through in other departments, such as grabbing a career-high 6.6 boards a game or dishing out 5.1 assists per game.

Talking to Iguodala after Friday's game, he admitted his new contract was a factor in his slow start -- but not in the way you might think. "I'm a little bit more comfortable, just getting there," Iguodala said. "I knew it was going to take me awhile. I didn't play too much pickup this summer ... I didn't want to get hurt this summer before I signed."

But now, with the help of Cheeks calling a few more plays to put the ball in his hands so he can both score and facilitate, he's getting into a better rhythm. If he can stay there once Brand comes back, the 76ers should be a dangerous team, certainly far more imposing than their 9-12 record might suggest.

Andre Iguodala Turns the Corner originally appeared on NBA FanHouse on Mon, 08 Dec 2008 20:25:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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