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Daily Times staff writer Dennis Deitch covers the 76ers

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Are the Sixers better with or without Iguodala?

Whether you were or weren't an Andre Iguodala fan during his first six years in the NBA, all had to acknowledge this much: The guy was durable. Iggy missed just six games in six years, all of which came in 2006-07, his third season.
While showing up for work everyday deserves admiration, it did leave this mystery unsolved: How important is Iguodala to the success of the team?
This season, Iguodala has missed 10 of the first 35 games with a Achilles' tendinitis. And so, for the first time in his career, there are some numbers that can be crunched and analyzed to get at least a feel for his importance. It isn't a huge cross-section, but as long as the 10 games are put into context, it can serve a purpose.
First, let's start with the simple breakdowns: The Sixers are 14-21 this season. They are 10-15 with Iguodala, 4-6 without him. A .400 winning percentage with him, .400 without him. Doesn't get much more neutral than that.
Of those 10 games without Iggy, seven were on the road; however, his 25 games were pretty much split down the middle (12 home, 13 road). So, that gives the No Iggy Sixers a slight edge over the Iggy Sixers when it comes to degree of difficulty.

Now let's analyze some of the numbers, courtesy of assistance from

There is a system used on the site that provides an offensive and defensive rating for each team. It's based on points scored, but uses the pace of play to weigh the numbers to account for efficiency. For the season the Sixers have a 104.9 Offensive Rating, which ranks 20th in the 30-team league. However, in the 10 games Iguodala missed, the team's O-Rating was 107.03, which is slightly above the league average of 106.4.
On the flip side, the Sixers' Defensive Rating for the season is 105.6, which is 13th in the NBA and slightly better than that 106.4 midpoint. However, in the 10 games Iguodala missed, their average was 107.3. So, as one might expect, the Sixers are a better defensive team when Iguodala is in the lineup than when he's out. But what might be of a surprise is that the Sixers are not only a better offensive team without Iguodala, but that improvement has been more significant than the defensive drop-off.
(It should be noted that the 10 teams the Sixers played without Iguodala have average Offensive and Defensive Ratings almost dead-on the league average, so there's no major deviation from the norm at play.)

I also investigated another possible factor: The Jeckyll & Hyde Sixers between the first 16 games, when they were 3-13, and in the last 19, during which they are 11-8. Iguodala happened to miss five games each during those two disparate stretches, and the differentials are largely the same, albeit the Sixers have become a far more offensively driven team during their stretch of success.

Read that one more time: They have been a better team when they are a more efficient offensive team, as opposed to a team that leans on its defense.

In that sentence might reside the answer to the question at the top of this entry.


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