Mar 2, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) dribbles up the court against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Warriors 104-98. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors: What to Expect From Andre Iguodala

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For the last two offseasons the Golden State Warriors were the talk of the league. This year they were the leaders in the race for Kevin Love until LeBron James announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Last year they were involved in talks with Dwight Howard — but ultimately lost him to the Houston Rockets — and eventually signed Andre Iguodala.

In order to make the deal work the Warriors had to execute a sign-and-trade with a team willing to take large, expiring contracts. That team was the Utah Jazz. They took Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson, and Brandon Rush off Golden State’s hands for multiple picks, which included the Warriors’ first-round picks in 2014 and 2017.

Utah used Golden State’s first-rounder in this year’s draft on Rodney Hood. Although the Warriors would have loved a pick, it’s safe to say they’re happy with the deal.

Andre Iguodala transformed the Golden State Warriors into a solid defensive team. Although it was hard to notice the difference he provided, his abilities were sorely missed when he missed time due to a hamstring injury.

However, many seemed unhappy with Iguodala’s production. The statistics backed their sentiments as Iguodala’s points (9.3), assists (4.2.), and rebounds (4.7) were all down from his previous campaign in Denver. Iguodala’s point output was his lowest since his rookie year, as well.

It’s important to note that while in Denver and Philadelphia Andre Iguodala was the first or second option. He was the leader of not only the defense, but also the offense; the 76ers and Nuggets looked upon him to score more, and he did just that.

In Golden State, however, Iguodala is the third — or fourth — option on the offensive side of the court behind Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and maybe even David Lee.

Because he wasn’t tasked with the duty of carrying an offense, he took better shots. As a result, his field goal percentage rose from .451 to .480.

Iguodala was also put into some bad situations last season. Much of the season, Golden State lacked a backup for Curry. Toney Douglas, Jordan Crawford, and Steve Blake were unsuccessful, leaving Iguodala as the only ball handler behind Curry and Thompson.

Andre Iguodala was not helped by ex-coach Mark Jackson, either. Jackson left Iguodala on an island to create his own shot too often. Yes, Iguodala has good handles, but he doesn’t have the reliable jumper or lightning-quickness necessary to beat other small forwards off the dribble.

Iguodala excels at initiating the offense, getting out in transition and slashing to the rim. His size, strength and toughness should allow him to be one of the NBA’s best slashers and finishers at the rim.

The less jump shots Iguodala takes, the better. And I’m sure new head coach Steve Kerr and the rest of his coaching staff, will put Iguodala, and the rest of the players, in better situations to succeed.

Even with the coaching deficiencies — and at times, Iguodala’s inadequacy —  he still had a good year.

Those who were frustrated with his lack of offensive firepower must realize all he brings on the defensive side of the ball.

Andre Iguodala led the NBA in the plus-minus category with a rating of +9.0 differential per game. He also led the Warriors to the NBA’s third-best defensive rating behind only the Indiana Pacers and the Chicago Bulls.

A panel of sportswriters and broadcasters recognized Iguodala’s stupendous defensive season and voted him onto the All-Defensive Team for the first time in his career.

If last year was an off-year for Iguodala, then what does a good year have in store?

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Tags: David Lee Golden State Warriors Klay Thomson Stephen Curry Steve Kerr

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