Andre Iguodala opted out of the last year of his contract with the Denver Nuggets to explore free agency this summer. As soon as that news went public, there was obviously rampant speculation about where one of the NBA’s best perimeter defenders and versatile players was going to end up. Eventually, he signed with the young, talented Golden State Warriors.
The speculation continued regarding Iguodala once he signed with Golden State. People wondered what effect he would have on a team that showed their vast potential in the 2013 postseason, how he would fit into their rotation, and if he could elevate this team to the level of a title contender. We got our first look on Saturday night.
On Saturday, the Warriors opened up their preseason play against the Los Angeles Lakers and Iguodala didn’t disappoint. In only 21 minutes on the floor, Iggy put up a line of 15 points, three rebounds, one assist and two steals on 6-7 shooting. His line was impressive, but it didn’t tell the whole story of how good he looked with the Warriors.
Obviously Iguodala gives Golden State a huge boost on the defensive end. Stephen Curry, for all his fantastic play, is a poor defender which sometimes puts too much pressure on Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes to pick up the slack. However, Iguodala was fantastic with his defense in terms of guarding his own man, but also in terms of giving help and hedges on the perimeter to make the Warriors’ life a little easier overall on the defensive end.
More than that, Iguodala is also a fantastic addition for how he helps Curry perform as a facilitator in the offense. One of Curry’s strengths as a passer is his ability to make quick passes when the defense is off-balance. What Iguodala is so good at offensively is constantly working without the ball, which gives Curry the opportunity to throw those passes and get Iggy quality looks cutting to the rim. That’s a nice addition to the offense in itself, but it also opens up the floor even more for this sharpshooting Warriors team.
Iguodala isn’t going to be a player that puts up 25 points per game or anything of that sort, but there’s an obvious reason that the Warriors were so eager to clear cap-space to sign him and it was on display in their first preseason game. Once he develops even more of a rapport with this team going forward, Golden State could really be special this season with Iguodala aiding the cause.