Masai Ujiri is confused.
It’s mind-boggling to me. I mean, when the US Olympic team enlists a defensive stopper, there is no question who they choose – Andre Iguodala. Yet, for some reason he can’t be considered one of the top-10 defensive players in the NBA? It’s just shocking that he continues to be overlooked as a world-class defender in our league. I honestly thought he should be in the conversation for defensive player of the year, let alone first or even second team all-defense.
Obvious Mile-High City bias aside, Ujiri has a point.
Iguodala is known as one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, a reputation that has carried him for nearly a decade. And nothing changed while he was with the Nuggets.
Iggy helped transform Denver's defense in his one season with the team. Though not considered the most oppressive of defensive attacks, there was an obvious improvement.
Per Synergy Sports (subscription required), Iguodala also allowed just 0.8 points per defensive possession himself. To put that in perspective, the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year, Marc Gasol (second team), allowed 0.77, Paul George (second team) relinquished 0.82 and Chris Paul (first team) allowed 0.83.
Selections go beyond those numbers, but there is actually a case to be made for Iggy; Ujiri wasn't just being nice.
Well, he was probably still trying to be nice.
Iguodala is projected to opt out of the last year of his contract and enter unrestricted free agency. The Nuggets would like to hold onto him and coming to his defense (no pun intended) on a matter like this is a good way to begin their courtship. Especially when the All-Defensive Teams mean so much to Iguodala.
Following the announcements, Iggy took to Twitter to offer his thoughts on his ever so noticeable absence.
If it really is "politics as usual," they're not very sensible ones. Iguodala wasn't the only snub.
The most glaring issue (even more so than Iggy being given the shaft), was Gasol being named to the second team.
This marks the second straight season that the Association's Defensive Player of the Year wasn't named to the first team. Tyson Chandler, the 2012 recipient, was named to the second team as well last season.
Now that's mind-boggling.
Not unlike Iguodala's vexing exclusion from these ranks altogether.
*All stats in this article were compiled from Basketball-Reference and Synergy Sports unless otherwise attributed.