The signing of Andre Iguodala turned the Golden State Warriors from a talented, but inexperienced playoff team into a Western Conference contender. There is no question that Iguodala will give the Warriors that experience that they desperately need. There is a question, however, concerning the role that he will play on the Warriors.
Defensively, he is solid and can guard multiple positions. Offensively, however, there are many more questions. He can pass well and finish around the rim, but he isn’t a great shooter. Iguodala shot only 31.7 percent from 3-point land last year, and his free throw percentage dropped for the third straight year, falling all the way to 57.4 percent.
Will Iguodala be less aggressive because of his falling free throw percentage? Will his ability to attack the rim be wasted because of his inability to make free throws at a high rate?
The reason the signing of Iguodala is so good for the Warriors is because he is a good all-around offensive player. His game isn’t based on just shooting threes and free throws. He doesn’t just contribute in the points category. He passes well, he rebounds well, and can run an offense. This is a perfect fit for a team like the Warriors who already have people who can put the ball in the basket.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson can score proficiently from the perimeter, and David Lee can score well in the paint. Harrison Barnes can score coming in from the bench as well. With Curry’s ability to score, look for Iguodala to take the point guard position once in a while to let Curry play off the ball. While Iguodala may be less aggressive this year with the Warriors, he will not need to be very aggressive offensively because of the plethora of scoring options the Warriors have.
The Warriors also need to decide if, with a lead late in the fourth quarter, they would keep Andre Iguodala on the floor. His free throw percentage was dismal last year, and if he is the one the opposing team fouls, it is possible that the Warriors could run into some problems finishing games.
The Warriors may, however, run into even more problems if they leave Iguodala off the floor in these situations. They have Curry and Thompson to knock down clutch free throws, so he won’t need to always make free throws at the end of games. His veteran presence could help the Warriors more than hinder them because he is a smart player that will not throw games away.
The Warriors have seen this happen, most notably the double-overtime thriller against the San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs. A large fourth quarter lead was blown because of bonehead decisons and plays on the offensive end. Iguodala will not turn the ball over at the end of a game, and help close out games that they deserve to win. Even though he will not knock down a great percentage at the free throw line, he is calm and poised enough to make a positive difference at the end of a game.
While Iguodala does struggle shooting the basketball sometimes, he is too talented for the Warriors to keep off the floor. He will help the Warriors in many non-shooting categories and will make them a championship contender from day one.