Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr might make a fairly significant change to the starting lineup this upcoming season. Although Kerr said that Andre Iguodala will “probably start,” he said that there’s a possibility that another small forward such as Harrison Barnes or even Draymond Green could potentially start instead of Iguodala, according to Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group.
“Andre (Iguodala) started last year, which he probably will, but there’s a lot of options that we have because we’ve got really good players in Harrison (Barnes) and Draymond (Green),” Kerr said, adding that likely he would use the same lineup as last season. “But most of it usually comes down to how the combination fits…how do the pieces of the puzzle fit. We’ll determine that in training camp who plays best together, who’s going to start, who’s going to come off the bench.”
Last season, Iguodala averaged 9.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game while shooting 48 percent from the field and 35.4 percent from three-point range. In the 2014 postseason, Iguodala averaged 13.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game while shooting 51.6 percent from the field and 53.3 percent from three-point range.
Iguodala also had a 103 defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) and was named to the NBA All-Defensive first team last season.
Iguodala said many times last season that he knew his role on this Warriors team was more focused on the defensive end than the offensive end, given the fact the Warriors’ had such strong offensive weapons in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and David Lee. Iguodala is an extremely valuable asset to this Warriors team because of his defense, his versatility, his athleticism, his speed in the open court, and his veteran leadership.
Last season, Barnes averaged 9.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game while shooting 39.9 percent from the field and 34.7 percent from three-point range. In the 2014 postseason, Barnes averaged 7.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.1 assists while shooting 39.6 percent from the field and 38.1 percent from three-point range.
Barnes’ sophomore season was certainly a disappointing one. Many fans forget that Barnes’ rookie season wasn’t extremely impressive either, but his performance in the 2013 postseason was enticing, especially because he started to show the potential that every fan expected to see in the regular season.
In the 2013 postseason, Barnes averaged 16.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.3 assists while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from three-point range. In the 2013-2014 regular season though, his stat line was fairly similar to the stats he finished with in his rookie season.
There were many theories as to why Barnes regressed last season, especially after such an impressive showing in the 2013 postseason. Some fans believe that former head coach Mark Jackson didn’t utilize Barnes’ skills in the right way. Barnes has said that it also took him longer than he expected to adjust to the sixth man role. Whatever the reason was, it’ll be interesting to see how Kerr uses Barnes this upcoming season.
Last season, Green averaged 6.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.9 assists while shooting 40.7 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from three-point range. In the 2014 postseason, Green averaged 11.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.9 assists while shooting 46.7 percent from the field and 27.6 percent from three-point range.
As many Warriors fans know though, Green’s value, like Iguodala’s, can’t be judged by basic statistics. His effort and toughness are unmatched, and he provides so many intangibles to this Warriors team. He simply is a winner, and he is also extremely valuable to this Warriors team and their future.
However, it’s unlikely that he will start at small forward. There’s a case to be made for him starting at power forward, and acting as that stretch four that the Warriors desperately needed last season and that Kerr wants to implement this upcoming season, but he most likely won’t start over Iguodala and Barnes at small forward.
That leaves Iguodala and Barnes. Iguodala is certainly a better player than Barnes and fits in better with the Warriors’ starting lineup, especially Curry and Thompson.
Kerr will ultimately have the final decision though. As mentioned before, Iguodala will most likely start, but would it benefit the Warriors in any way to have Barnes start and have Iguodala come off the bench?
Who would you rather have the Warriors start at the small forward position: Iguodala or Barnes? Answer the poll below, and let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.