Golden State Warriors: Lessons Learned After Losing Andre Iguodala

Nov 22, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors small forward Andre Iguodala (9) drives past Los Angeles Lakers point guard Jordan Farmar (1) during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

A non-contact injury against the Lakers the left hamstring of Andre Iguodala that left a Warriors team to test their diminished squad against some of the top teams in the NBA. Playing against likely Playoff contenders in the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, New Orleans Pelicans, and will play the Memphis Grizzlies later tonight.

Losing Iguodala to some sort of injury was an inevitable part of his four year contract. Of course in an ideal world Dre would clock 40+ minutes and not miss a game while with the Warriors, but a couple of weeks early in the regular season missed with a minor injury is something that the team can stomach.

Playing without their star off season acquisition for the first time, the Warriors show their weaknesses and ability to persevere without one of their best players. Their schedule has been tough and through seven games the Warriors are 3-4 with losses to the Portland Trial Blazers, Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder, and most recently against the Houston Rockets.

The defense clearly suffers when Iguodala doesn’t play, an increase of about ten points allowed per 100 possessions clearly demonstrates this. The Warriors sustain effective defense for portions of games; the first quarter agains the New Orleans Pelicans, the second and third quarters in Oklahoma City, and for an amazing comeback in the fourth quarter against the Toronto Raptors.

Iguodala’s absence shows the Warriors the importance of health for a playoff run. Going back to last year’s playoffs, the team has been without Harrison Barnes, David Lee, Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala. In all instances the team as succeeded while missing one of their stars, but it is clear how superior their squad becomes when everyone is healthy.

Iguodala isn’t the only Warrior to be sidelined in a suit; PG Toney Douglas and PF/C Festus Ezeli are two slightly less notable members of the team missing action. When healthy, Douglas backs up at point guard, handling and distributing the ball while threatening from three point range. Ezeli hasn’t played all year, and should be able to return to the court before the all-star break. He brings a strong defensive presence, with quality rebounding and blocking ability.

Playing below full strength, the Warriors won one of their best games this decade. Coming back from a 27 point deficit, the Warriors pulled off a thrilling win against the Toronto Raptors without Iguodala. In order to win, the team dug deep down at half time and dominated in the second half. At half time Jermaine O’Neal gave “one of the realist speechesI ever heard,” according to Klay Thompson, “And he said we’ll see what we’re made of in the second half. And we showed what we’re made of.”

December 3, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson (11) shoots the basketball against Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan (10) during the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Raptors 112-103. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

After suffering injuries to key players like Harrison Barnes, Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala the Warriors ride two games above .500 with a 11-9 record.The Warrior have all pieces in place to make a run in the playoffs with a healthy team. Loosing Iguodala shows his benefit to the team’s defense, but the Warriors strong play in his absence shows promise for a playoff appearance no matter what injuries the regular season throws at them.

Topics: Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors, Injury

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