Andre Iguodala’s potential impact on the Cavs

John Krolik of Cavs: The Blog posted a detailed analysis of Andre Iguodala’s potential impact on the Cavaliers.

Danny Ferry has done an absolutely masterful job of surrounding LeBron James with high-quality role players during his tenure as GM. That being said, thanks to LeBron getting too good too fast, Luke Jackson’s back, DaJuan Wagner’s intestines, Ricky Davis’ head, Larry Hughes’ everything, and the sins of Jim Paxson, LeBron’s never gotten a young potential superstar to grow with. (Mo Williams is great for what he is, but he’s no superstar.) This might be the Cavs’ chance to get LeBron a true running mate.

There’s also something else. Iguodala’s a lock-down perimeter defender, both on the ball and providing weak-side help. He’s got off-the-charts athleticism and a Gumby wingspan. He’s not a natural shooter, but he can make shots when they’re open. He’s a good decision-maker and can make plays. This is borderline heresy, but it’s hard not to see more than a little bit of Scottie Pippen in Iguodala.

I’m sure that the Pippen comparison is going to raise more than a few eyebrows, but Krolik isn’t saying that Iggy is as good as Pippen or really even in the same league, but the potential is there. His numbers are comparable and Pippen had the luxury of playing with an alpha dog from day one. Iguodala played with Allen Iverson for a couple of seasons (posting 50% shooting from the field and 35% from long range in 2005-06) but has otherwise been the offensive focal point of a pretty mediocre Sixers squad. If he were to join the Cavs, there is reason to believe that he would become a far more efficient player since he could exercise much better shot selection.

Krolik goes on to discuss Iggy’s defense:

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More on the Cavs trade

As a Cavs fan, I love the trade, just because it finally rids them of Larry Hughes. Hughes is a good guy but he was a disaster on this team. Bill Simmons agrees, as he now claims the Cavs should be the favorites in the East:

As for the other big trade this week, kudos to Danny Ferry for somehow getting four of the best five players in an 11-player trade. That has to be some sort of record, right? I already made the case for Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West helping the Cavs in my Trade Machine piece Wednesday (scroll down to trade 4A), but the Chicago guys pushed the deal over the top for me. First, Drew Gooden needed to go — he was too inconsistent and too much of a bonehead, and we neared the point when a fed-up LeBron might punch him in the face during a game about three months ago — and Joe Smith gives the Cavs steadier minutes and reliable production with those minutes. (Maybe Smith’s ceiling isn’t as high as Gooden’s from game to game, but when you have LeBron you need consistency from the rest of the guys more than anything else.) Second, the fact Ferry was able to trade an overpaid guard who actually drove a frustrated Cavs fan to create a site called www.heylarryhughespleasestoptakingsomanybadshots.com and update it every day … I mean, even if you got back a dead body for Larry Hughes, it would have been a moral victory.

Instead, the Cavs got back the Artist Formerly Known As Ben Wallace, someone who stopped being an elite rebounder and shot-blocker about three years ago, but someone with playoff experience and the ability to defend bigger guys like KG, Shaq or Duncan. He certainly makes more sense for the 2008 Cavs than Larry Hughes did. Anyway, I thought the Cavs could win the East before this trade, simply because none of the Eastern teams have someone who can match baskets with LeBron in a close game. Now? They’re the favorites. Look, I love the Celtics, I watch them every game, it has been the most enjoyable season in 15 years. … But a playoff series almost always comes down to one question as long as both sides are relatively equal:

Which team has the best guy?

Well, LeBron is better than anyone else in the East. So if you were beating Cleveland this spring, it was happening because your supporting cast was significantly better than LeBron’s supporting cast. That’s why this trade was so dangerous for Boston and Detroit; it shortened the sizable gap between guys 2 through 12 on Cleveland and guys 2 through 12 on Boston and Detroit. Now LeBron has four shooters who have shot 40-plus from 3-point range at least once in their career (Wally, Delonte, Boobie Gibson and Sasha Pavlovic), three seasoned rebounders (Wallace, Smith and Anderson Varejao), a scoring center (Zydrunas Ilgauskas) and, best of all, no Larry Hughes screwing up everything. LeBron is in a much better place than he was last year, and what’s even more frightening is that he has been playing out of his mind since last April. I know the Celtics are 41-11, and I know the Pistons have been there a million times … but still, how could you bet against LeBron in the East when he’s playing like this?

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