With Game 3 set to tip off in Philadelphia, the player introductions started and the Miami Heat were treated to an assortment of boos. No surprise at all there. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James got the most of the jeers, as Sixers fans showered them with boos. Bosh got his fair share amount but not as much as the previous two.

Why is this relevant? Because Andre Iguodala saw almost the same amount of boos as Bosh. It was quite surprising honestly. How could the Philly faithful reject one of their players?

It was so shocking to an outsider that one could have thought it was by mistake. But let’s keep it real, players don’t get venom thrown at them by accident; those are the kind of things reserved for the truly hated.

As the game started, every time Iguodala caught the ball, you could sense the crowd getting restless; it’s as if they kept expecting him to do something wrong with the ball.

For instance, at one point early in the second quarter, the former Arizona Wildcat got caught with the ball late in the shot clock and had to fire a tough contested shot that resulted in an air ball. The crowd then started venting, openly asking Iggy to stop shooting the ball.

When he dribbled the ball up court, they urged him to pass the ball over to someone else, and when he turned it over they all hoped that Doug Collins would sit him on the bench.

Late in the game, Iguodala got subbed out and the Philly faithful were on board with the move. Once he came back though, they all had this confused look on their faces; and wondered aloud why he came back in the game.

Needless to say, Iguodala will never be Iverson, Vick or Rocky in Philadelphia. Heck, at this point he gets the same treatment as Santa Claus and Michael Irvin.

76ers fans have grown frustrated with Andre Iguodala’s because of the size of his contract and his contributions to the team.

And yet, when looking at Iggy’s performance, he has been solid this year. He is a terrific finisher in the paint, good ball handler, good playmaker and great perimeter defender.

He is somewhere between Shane Battier and LeBron James as a small forward (quick side note: Sixers fans think that LeBron is MAYBE top 5 in the NBA; I swear you couldn’t make this stuff up); hence he is quite a talented player.

The problem that the Philly faithful have with Andre? His cap figure of $12.3 million this year. Given his immense salary, they expect and want more.

Although 76ers fans have a point, Iguodala is the same exact player he was at the time he signed the contract. He has improved parts of his game but is still a fairly consistent player.

Iguodala is overpaid but is that his fault? Perhaps the venom getting thrown his way should instead be directed at Ed Stefanski who is also known as the general manager that gave him his outrageous contract.

Look at what Iggy’s numbers were at the time he signed his contract 32 months ago:

39.5 19.9 5.4 4.8 2.1 45.6

This season, Doug Collins asked his starting small forward to change his game and concentrate on defense. Although Iguodala is still a scoring threat, his role on offense was reduced by design, to spread the wealth amongst his teammates. So let’s have a look at his production this season:

36.9 14.1 5.8 6.3 1.5 44.5

The 76ers starting small forward’s field goal percentage has gone down by a hair and his scoring is down as well in comparison to his 2007-08 season. However, Iguodala is now doing a better job of rebounding and passing the ball. His steals are down, but his individual defense is far better. So can we really say that he has not improved? In one word: no.

Perhaps Philadelphians should lower their expectations for a player who has consistently been who he has always been. This isn’t Vince Carter that signed a contract and then decided to take a few years of his commitment off; instead we have a player that actually plays hard and up to the best of his capabilities.

Iguodala’s playoff performance this year could be much better as far as his shooting (28.0 percent field goal shooting), but he is still averaging 6.7 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game in three games against the Heat.

If we measure Philadelphia’s athletic forward by his basketball talent, he is quite an underrated player; but if we measure him by his salary, he is indeed overpaid. But then again Jay-Z once rapped: “would you rather be overpaid or underrated?”

Iguodala managed to become overpaid, but that’s still no reason for lack of brotherly love….

Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at [email protected]. You can also find me on Twitter with the handle name @ShyneIV.

About The Author

J.M. Poulard is the Warriors World editor. He is also a contributor to ESPN TrueHoop sites Forum Blue and Gold (Los Angeles Lakers), Piston Powered (Detroit Pistons) and Raptors Republic (Toronto Raptors). He has a particular fondness for watching Eastern Conference ball games and enjoys the history of the sport. Feel free to reach out to him on Twitter (@ShyneIV).

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