Assessing Andre Iguodala’s Defensive Impact on Golden State Warriors

By Cody Williams
Andre Iguodala Warriors defense
Kyle Terada – USA Today Sports Images

The Golden State Warriors were able to add one of the biggest name free agents of the NBA off-season with the signing of guard/forward Andre Iguodala. With the Denver Nuggets last season, Iguodala was solid as he averaged 13 points, 5.4 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 34.7 minutes per game. As Iggy comes to the already offensively potent Warriors, though, it will be the veteran’s defense that is a real asset for this team.

Last season, Iguodala was one of the better overall defenders in the league and one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. Iggy allowed just 0.8 points per possession last season, the 61st best rate in the season. He also forced a turnover on 15.2 percent of the plays run at him, another impressive mark from the newest addition to Golden State.

Outside of just looking at Iguodala’s individual defensive numbers, though, the best way to calculate Iggy’s defensive impact on his new team is to also look at how the Warriors performed defensively last season and see how the two sets of numbers stack up.

In the 2012-2013 season, the Warriors ranked 13th in the league in terms of points per possession, allowing 0.88 per. On defense, they were solid against isolations sets and defending the screener in the pick-and-roll, but struggled in terms of defending the ball-handler in the pick-and-roll and were below-average at defending spot-up shooters.

Looking at Iguodala’s numbers in comparison, he should be able to help them stay solid in areas where they were good last season and help the team improve in areas where they were relatively week last year.

Iguodala was one of the best in the league last season in terms of isolation, allowing just 0.58 points per possession, the 11th best rate in the league. That will likely help the Warriors improve on one of their defensive strengths. Defending the ball-handler in the pick-and-roll wasn’t a strength of Iggy last season, but he allowed just 0.01 more points per possession than the Warriors did as a team, meaning he shouldn’t really help or hurt them in that area.

One of the areas where Iguodala will provide the most help for Golden State defensively, though, with his ability to defend spot-up shooters. The Warriors ranked just 17th in the league in terms of defending spot-up shooting, allowing 0.99 points per possession. In comparison, Iguodala allowed just 0.84 points per possession. Having Iggy on the wing will help improve Golden State’s defense on spot-up shooting.

Possibly the biggest asset that Iguodala will bring to the Warriors, though, is the ability to make up for some of the defensive shortcomings of players like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Iguodala’s impact may not swing the Warriors to being a top-five defensive team, but he will have a positive impact on their defense. For a team with as much offensive firepower as Golden State, the improvement that Iguodala should bring is going to be felt greatly, even if the difference isn’t dramatic.

Cody Williams is a Senior Writer with Rant Sports. Follow Cody on Twitter @TheSizzle20, add him on Google and like his Facebook page.

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