Andre Iguodala might own the title of the most confounding UA player/pro ever. From the moment he set foot on campus he was clearly the most talented player on the court for a team that started out the season ranked number one in the country; yet, after two seasons, the UA coaching staff was more than happy with Iguodala declaring early for the NBA draft.
While many UA fans now focus on the 2015 NBA Finals MVP, it was a bumpy ride of sorts for “Iggy” to get to that point.
Initially signing with Arkansas to play for Nolan Richardson, Iguodala received his release after Richardson was fired and it didn't take long before Iguodala joined the much ballyhooed recruiting class of Hassan Adams and Chris Rodgers.
While Adams was the highest rated of the three, it was the angular and explosive Iguodala with innate passing skills that caused then-teammate Luke Walton to proclaim that Iguodala could become the best Wildcat ever.
Quite frankly, he could do it all. Rebound, defend, dribble, pass and to a lesser extent, score.
Where many people expected that Iguodala would approach All American status during his time as a Wildcat, that didn’t come close to happening despite playing for two of the most talented teams in school history.
Due to internal dysfunction, the Wildcats bowed out to Seton Hall in the first round at the end of Iguodala’s sophomore season.
Iguodala declared for the NBA draft shortly after the loss, and, while he didn’t fulfill UA fan expectations, Iguodala was projected by many to go in the top 3 picks. Yet on draft day, Iggy tumbled to the Philadelphia 76ers at pick nine.
Going to a team with a ball dominant guard like Allen Iverson was a blessing and a curse for “AI2.”
Iguodala seamlessly slid into the number two scoring role and by the end of his third season was flirting with 20 point, 6 rebounds and 6 assist per game averages. However, these numbers also coincided with the sideshow that was the end of the Allen Iverson era in Philadelphia.
After Iverson was traded to Denver, Iguodala was expected to become the number one option, a role in which his skills weren't necessarily best utilized.
His crowning achievement would come years later with the Golden State Warriors.
The “selfish” label that followed Iguodala during his time at Arizona certainly died once he signed with the Warriors.
Despite a resume that included an all-star appearance and an all-defensive team award, Iggy came to Golden State and embraced his role coming off the bench as Golden State’s best defender and occasional initiator of the offense.
Iguodala won the 2015 NBA Finals MVP, but it says here that award was a tad overrated and a bit of a default honor because Golden State’s best player struggled, relatively speaking, while the man Iggy defended showcased one of the most dominant NBA finals ever.
Nonetheless Iguodala provided James with a difficult matchup and upped his averages to the tune of 16 points 6 rebounds and 4 assists during the six game series
Still a valuable contributor on one of the best teams in the NBA, it wouldn’t surprise if he wins another title or two.
It wasn’t always the easiest path for Iguodala, and, while he didn’t quite live up to Luke Walton’s’ vision, he didn’t fall that far from it either.