By Joe Giglio
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — When voting results for NBA Finals MVP were leaked, only two players received votes from the 11-person media electorate: LeBron James and Andre Iguodala. By a 7-to-4 margin, the former Sixers swiss-army knife won the prestigious honor over the best player in the world.
After a 25-5-5 performance in Game 6, including more stellar defense on James, the selection of Iguodala wasn’t hard to see coming. He was the difference maker for Golden State, shining in the starting lineup after Warriors head coach Steve Kerr made a mid-series adjustment that altered basketball history.
While Kerr deserves credit and Iguodala was worthy of the honor, the turning point of the series was illustrated with Golden State’s depth. As Cleveland struggled to find anyone worthy of minutes alongside James, the Warriors had a potential Hall of Famer sitting on the bench.
Yes, folks. Iguodala, the player never fully embraced, understood or appreciated by Sixers fans, has carved out a career so good and so unique that a post-career bronze plaque in Springfield, Massachusetts isn’t 100 percent out of the question.
Now, I don’t think Iggy is destined for the Naismith Hall of Fame, but his Finals MVP award adds to a resume that has to merit consideration.
As of right now, only one (Cedric Maxwell) HOF-eligible Finals MVP isn’t in the Hall of Fame. From Michael Jordan to James to Magic Johnson, the list of Finals MVPs is littered with some of the best players in the history of the NBA. Now, that list includes Iguodala’s 2015 performance.
When you add the Finals MVP to a list of credentials that includes an All-Star Game appearance, All-Defensive First Team selection, Olympic and FIBA gold medals and First-Team Pac-10 (collegiate and international accomplishments count when it comes to Basketball Hall of Fame voting), Iguodala’s accomplishments mirror his on-court play: they become more impressive when looked at as a whole, rather than through the prism of one or two things.
In the aftermath of an excellent series, Iguodala clearly isn’t done adding to his basketball credentials. If he comes off the bench again for a dominant Warriors team in 2015-16, there’s little reason he won’t be in the mix for a second title. Any counting stats he adds to his career numbers can only enhance the case.
On the surface, 14.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game doesn’t jump off the page as all-time great numbers. Really, they don’t paint the picture of anything but a good-to-very good asset. Yet, those stats aren’t markedly different than the 16.1, 6.4, 5.2 career marks from Scottie Pippen — an NBA Top 50 selection and six-time NBA champion.
With more career win shares than James Worthy, Bernard King and Willis Reed, advance stats have Iguodala on the level with some long-time Hall of Famers. At the age of 31, there’s time to add to the overall numbers, possibly making Iguodala one of only seven players ever with at least 15,000 points, 5,000 assists, 5,000 rebounds and 2,000 steals. The six already in that club: Karl Malone, Jordan, Gary Payton, Jason Kidd, Clyde Drexler and Pippen. A list of Hall of Famers.
Eleven years after the Sixers made the Arizona forward the 9th pick in the NBA Draft, he became a household name on the national scene. Along the way, while most were busy complaining about his contract, he was building a Hall of Fame case as unique as his game.
Joe Giglio is a host on WIP. Find him on Twitter @JoeGiglioSports. Catch Joe’s next show on WIP Thursday night at 10PM.