For now, Iguodala focused on Olympics, not the Sixers

Posted: July 16, 2012

WASHINGTON - When the 2011-12 season ended with his Sixers coming within one victory of reaching the Eastern Conference finals, forward Andre Iguodala said that his focus would be on making the 2012 U.S. Olympic team.

Not on whether or not he will be traded. And not on what the team will look like when the Sixers come together for training camp this fall to prepare for the 2012-13 season.

"You can't spend your life worrying about what you can't control in this life," Iguodala said one day after the season ended. "That's not going to be part of my schedule this summer."

Last week, Iguodala received perhaps the highest honor of his career. He was named to the 2012 men's national team. A member of the 2010 USA world championship team, Iguodala will be going to London for the Olympics.

On Saturday, after an open practice at the D.C. Armory for 3,100 military members and their families, Iguodala spoke guardedly about the Sixers' recent personnel moves and last season, but more freely about his role with USA Basketball.

"I haven't really thought about it," Iguodala said regarding the Sixers. "I've been pretty busy with all this stuff going on. But I spoke to Lou [Williams] and I spoke with Elton [Brand] a little bit. We spoke about off-court stuff. But really, my focus has been on the U.S. team."

While he is on a team that includes a five-time NBA champion in Kobe Bryant, Iguodala, part of an organization that last won a championship 29 years ago, said he is proud of what the Sixers accomplished as an eighth seed.

"We weren't supposed to do that well," Iguodala said. "The Bulls lost D-Rose [Derrick Rose] and that definitely was a big part of it, but they were still a very good team and they were a playoff team without him.

"The way we played against the Celtics solidified where we were at as a team and how well we were playing at the time, so hopefully we can use that and get better."

Since a career high of 19.9 points per game in 2007-08, Iguodala's scoring average has fallen four straight seasons, all the way down to the 12.2 ppg. the eight-year veteran averaged in 2011-12.

However, in each of those seasons, Iguodala has seen his shot attempts decline, from almost 16 per game to just 10.2 this past season. And the Sixers have had four different coaches in the last five seasons, resulting in Iguodala's never getting the opportunity to get comfortable within a system or establish consistency in the role he plays.

That will not be the case for him during the Olympics, which begin July 27.

In the team's first exhibition game, a 113-59 rout of the Dominican Republic on Thursday in Las Vegas, Team USA exhibited a stifling defense, often picking up the opposition full court. Managing director Jerry Colangelo and head coach Mike Krzyzewski have both stated that they want to set the tempo in the Olympics with defense.

Along with scoring 18 points in the game, Iguodala had two steals and a few deflections. He was particularly good when teamed on the perimeter with Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook.

"Some nights I might get 10 shots and other games I might just get one or two shots," Iguodala said. "My job is to make the game easier for the guys like LeBron [James], Kobe, KD [Kevin Durant], 'Melo [Carmelo Anthony]. We have a lot of great talent. If we keep working together and executing and focusing on our chemistry, we'll be tough to beat."

For now, Iguodala and his teammates are focused on preparing for the Olympics. On Monday, Team USA will scrimmage against Brazil at the Verizon Center in Washington, then continue to work out and play exhibition games in Manchester, England, and Barcelona, Spain, before beginning play in the tournament.

And while others have talked about whether this team would have beaten the 1992 Dream Team, Iguodala knows that right now there are more important things to address - such as team chemistry.

"I think we're all good basketball players and we have good basketball minds," Iguodala said. "Chemistry takes some time to build - you can't build it in a couple of days or even a week. Half of the guys were here in 2008 and another four or five guys were here for the world championships.

"As far as chemistry, I think it showed really well in the first exhibition game. We moved the ball really well, and we have so much confidence that I don't think chemistry will be an issue."


Contact staff writer John N. Mitchell at jmitchell@philly.com. Follow him on Twitter @JmitchInquirer. Read his "Deep Sixer" blog at philly.com.

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