Originally posted on Around the Arc  |  Last updated 5/7/12

For a team that is one win away from upsetting the number one seed in the Eastern Conference in the 2012 NBA playoffs, the Philadelphia 76ers have flown very far under the radar for the bulk of the season. Aside from a hot start and a stint at the top of ESPN’s power rankings, which had some people buzzing about the budding team, conversation about the Sixers on a national scale has been stifled to say the least. The lack of national attention surrounding the squad isn’t completely surprising as the team’s current lineup, void of any superstars, lacks the sexy storylines found with star-studded teams such as Miami of Los Angeles. The Sixers as a team however seem to be fine without having the spotlight shining squarely on the Wells Fargo Center, and Philadelphia loves the underdog approach.

The lack of overall attention paid to the team throughout the year is one thing, but the lack of respect paid to Andre Iguodala in this year’s Defensive Player of the Year voting is almost tragic. Iguodala finished seventh behind an aged Kevin Garnett and Tony Allen, who is very one-dimensional defensively. A case could be made for Iguodala to win the award, as he served as the defensive anchor for a top three defense, while not having the benefit of a premier post player behind him. Iguadala has the ability to defend multiple positions, and is arguably the most versatile defensive player in the League behind LeBron James, who finished above Iguadala on the list. Iggy’s ability to defend virtually anyone on the perimeter makes him invaluable to the Sixers on the defensive side of the ball. Andre held opposing small forwards to a PER of 8.7, slightly above half of the League average, while often switching to guard an opponents’ best player at another position. Although not quite as effective in those other spots, Iguodala would routinely switch onto opponent’s points, shooting guards, and even power forwards at times, meaning that he can virtually cover all four positions; an extremely rare feat in today’s athletic Association.

Not only didn’t Andre have the benefit of a menacing big looming behind him he was also flanked by two mediocre defenders on either side of him in the starting lineup in Holiday and Meeks, often leaving him alone to pick up the slack.

Tyson Chandler altered the entire landscape of the Knicks previously offensive-minded approach to the game, allowing them to compete amongst the East’s elite, and is definitely deserving of the hardware, as everyone on the list is worthy of the recognition. Unfortunately the overall lack of attention the Sixers received this season may have hurt Andre in this regard, because based on his defensive ability and overall import to his team on that end of the ball he could have easily been this year’s DPOY. While any recognition is nice, the League’s most talented perimeter defender sitting at seventh on the list isn’t justified, as Iggy’s defensive assets deserve more attention.

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