The Other A.I.

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Around the country, and in particular in Philadelphia, mention the initials A.I. and you will get an immediate response about Allen Iverson - both good and bad.

Iverson is gone from Philadelphia and the NBA, but there is another A.I. in town and he's been here for seven years. The "other" A.I. is Andre Iguodala. When "The Answer" left Philadelphia in 2005, the 76ers became Iguodala's team. He wasn't really a guy who can carry a team, like LeBron James or Kobe Bryant, but that's what he was asked to do.

Iguodala's numbers rose, and for three seasons, he was a top-15 fantasy player, but since 2008-09 we have watched A.I.'s scoring slip. Many fantasy owners jumped ship, but that was probably a mistake because he does so many other things well.

Since Iguodala's scoring peaked in 2008, we have seen a rise in his rebounds and assists. He's become a "stats-filler." With the exception of shot- blocking, A.I. is a better version of Andre Kirilenko...more points, rebounds, assists and steals. Kirilenko gets plenty of credit, yet Iguodala doesn't.

Or didn't until this summer when he because a defensive stopper and all-around contributor on the 2010 FIBA World Championship USA team that went the distance. He's been a solid contributor to the 2010-11 76ers team that is just starting to find itself - winners of eight of their last 12 games.

Iguodala has been playing well for longer than that. He's been close to a top-10 player for the past month, not because he scored like Kevin Durant, or even teammate Elton Brand, but because he has helped Philadelphia, and in turn his fantasy owners, in every category.

Over the past 30 days, Iguodala is averaging 15 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 6.8 apg, 2.0 spg and shooting a stunning 52.2% from the field.

Yet as we approach the trade deadline, rumors persist that Iguodala and his large contract are on the trading block. Right now a deal wouldn't be good for fantasy owners because he is more likely to go to a team where he couldn't be a complete part of the offense. Some of the trade destinations we are hearing are; Memphis, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Indiana and Houston. In Oklahoma City, Dallas and Memphis he would not be a primary weapon and we would surely see a drop in his statistics. However, a trade to Indiana or Houston could be good for fantasy owners because both teams are in need of immediate offensive help.

However, my preference as a fantasy owners is that he stay in Philadelphia and contribute as he has for the past month. It's the Devil I know, versus the Devil I don't know.

2010-11 Andre Iguodala Statistics
MonthPPGRPGAPGSPGBPGFG%3PT%FT%
October16.35.36.01.30.246.337.557.1
November13.67.14.81.10.744.538.165.2
December14.25.55.91.50.542.632.469.6
January14.75.26.12.40.554.033.369.8
February16.04.09.01.00.747.120.075.0


Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.