HoopsHype.com Interviews

Andre Iguodala: "Iverson is the opposite of what the press says about him"
by Marc Narducci / July 7, 2004

How has the experience been of getting used to coach Jim O'Brien's system and the NBA way of playing?

Andre Iguodala: It's been a little different, but also it's a learning process. I am trying to learn as much as possible to get better.

Do you think your versatility is one of your strengths?

AI: Definitely. Wherever coach puts me on the floor I think in can come in and contribute as soon as possible. I'm trying to learn every position, all the plays, all the spots. It's kind of tough because the philosophies are
different in NBA from college and I'm trying to learn.

Is learning the NBA game like cramming for a college exam?

AI: It's really tough. I came off a college season and jump into workouts with teams and go right to the draft and then go to mini-camp. So it's all coming at once and is coming pretty fast you just have to handle it the right way and I think I'm doing it.

What is your best position?

AI: I think the two. The one also, getting the ball off the glass and pushing it up the court and finding the open man. But whatever coach puts me at, I think I can come in and try to help the team as much as possible.

Where does your ability to play defense come from?

AI: I seem to have a knack for the ball. With their best offensive player on the court, I want to be the guy shutting him down. It created a lot of offense from me in college. I wasn't a man who got the ball a lot. My points came from the defensive end. I also wanted to be a well-rounded player and wanted to be able to do everything well.

Do you feel that eventually you could become a better scorer in the NBA than in college?

AI: No doubt. I've been working all summer on my shot trying to develop it. Just right now I'm trying to learn everything and take it in as much as possible.

People said the knock on you is that you aren't a good shooter. Does that motivate you?

AI: Definitely I want to prove the critics wrong and show that I can shoot the ball well. I think I have been doing that so far in practices and working hard at it, and when the ball comes to me in a game I'm going to shoot it.

Some teams tried to trade up in the draft to get you. Does that make you feel good?

AI: Oh yes, but I'm happy I was picked in the position to a good team that isn't in the bottom of the league. A team that is in the middle and trying to get up there. A team that can go deep into the playoffs. I think this team is striving to win and wants to get better and doesn't expect to lose and it's a good position to be in.

Allen Iverson surprised everybody by showing up and scrimmaging with the 76ers rookies one day. What was that like?

AI: It was a lot of fun. You hear a lot of different things about him through the media. You really can't believe what you hear. He's a great person, a lot of fun, very encouraging during practice. He found the big man in the open court a whole lot during practice. He's basically the opposite of what the press says about him. He's a great guy and it teaches you that you can't believe everything you hear.

Do you feel extra pressure to perform since you are the first-round pick of the 76ers?

AI: There isn't too much pressure. We have a good group of guys. Everybody is in different situations, but we're all here for the same reason to win and win games. We'll all be playing as a team. The cast around me is pretty good help in just keeping everybody staying grounded . We all understand we are all here to get better and to try help the team win games.

Marc Narducci covers the NBA for the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

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