Iguodala focused on improving self, Nuggets

Andre Iguodala has a bite to eat before warming up for the Denver Nuggets.
Andre Iguodala has a bite to eat before warming up for the Denver Nuggets. (YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Posted: November 01, 2012

THERE SEEMED to be a calmness and easiness to Andre Iguodala Wednesday when he met with the media after the Denver Nuggets' morning shootaround Wednesday. Perhaps it was because he thinks he's in a better place now, as a member of the Nuggets. Or maybe he was just happy realizing he doesn't have to meet with the gathered group of reporters anymore. Whatever the reasoning, it was noticeable.

Not long after Iguodala was dealt to Denver in a four-team trade, he knew that his first game as a professional not wearing a 76ers uniform would be against the team that drafted him and employed him for eight seasons. Although he's known about the encounter for a long time, he hasn't let it weigh on his mind.

"It's different only because it's the first game," he said. "The dynamics change a little bit, as far as being focused on our team and seeing where we're at, and trying to get a gauge on what we need to work on - our weaknesses and our strengths. If it was January or February, and I was accustomed to our team already, I would have the chance to enjoy coming back a little bit more.

"I've really just been thinking about the team and how we perform. I'm trying to figure out where we are as a team. As soon as I got traded and got to Denver, every day I've been thinking about how to be a better player and how to make my teammates better. I really haven't had the chance to grasp what I did here."

For the most part, Iguodala was insignificant in the Sixers 84-75 win. He finished with 11 points, four rebounds and four assists in a little less than 35 minutes, and played through a chorus of boos most of the night. He did receive a lukewarm standing ovation, when a video clip of him was shown during the first timeout of the game.

The happenings around the trade were sort of strange for Iguodala, as he was in London as a member of the U.S. Olympic team when it occurred. Coach Doug Collins was there as an analyst for NBC and teammate Jrue Holiday was there watching his fiancée, Lauren Cheyney, compete for the U.S. women's soccer team.

"I kind of heard rumors going on," he said. "I was with Jrue the day before, we were watching his fiancée play. We talked about it a little bit and it happened the next day. We [the men's team] had a game, so I just tried to concentrate on what I was trying to get accomplished."

One of the most embattled players in recent Sixers history concerning his relationship with the fans, Iguodala had nothing but praise for the hometown crowd, even posting a letter filled with admiration for Sixers fans.

"This organization gave me the opportunity to fill a lifelong dream and what better place to do it in and grow in?" Iguodala said. "This town is very passionate, and you know every night, you have to come out and play hard. You really can't relax, and I built good habits for myself.

"That work ethic was instilled in me, being in a rough and rugged city. You hear a lot of negative things when you say those words, but the way I looked at it, it kind of helped me to keep grinding every day to try to get better."

Cannon unveiled

While the Sixers were busy firing a boatload of threes in the season opener, they failed miserably in comparison with the amount of T-shirts flying through the Wells Fargo Center. That's because the world's largest T-shirt cannon, dubbed Big Bella, made its debut, with the ability to 100 shirts per minute. Unlike the Sixers three-point shooting, there didn't seem to be any misfires from the cannon.


Contact Bob Cooney at cooneyb@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @BobCooney76. For more Sixers coverage, read his blog at philly.com/Sixerville.

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