The Golden State Warriors, a team that many people expected to be a powerhouse in the 2013-14 NBA season, have been floundering as of late. Golden State sat at a shockingly mediocre 13-12 coming into Tuesday night and, had the playoffs started today, they would have been outside of the top eight seeds.
A big reason for their recent struggles has been the absence of their free-agent prize from this past offseason in Andre Iguodala due to injury. Without Iguodala on the floor, the Warriors have looked much shakier on both ends of the floor than they ever did with him healthy.
Luckily, though, the Warriors finally got a respite from trying to stay afloat without Iguodala on Tuesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans as Iggy was back in action and part of the starting five for Golden State. The results of having Iguodala on the wing were immediately felt.
For one, Golden State’s defense looked miles better than it had in recent weeks. While much credit is due to Klay Thompson for his defensive effort on Eric Gordon, part of that is actually due to Iguodala’s presence. With Iguodala on the perimeter once again, Thompson isn’t forced to try and do too much as a defender and is instead able to channel his energy into his assignment. The results in that regard were , part of that is actually due to Iguodala’s presence. With Iguodala on the perimeter once again, Thompson isn’t forced to try and do too much as a defender and is instead able to channel his energy into his assignment. The results in that regard were definitely promising.
The offense was what was truly striking, though, in Iguodala’s return. It can’t be said enough how great Iggy is for this team’s spacing. Not only can he disrupt defenses with his speed in transition, but Iguodala’s movement with and without the ball demands attention from defenses, which helps get the rest of his teammates better looks. That’s why the Warriors were able to put up 104 points easily, and that’s on a night when their shots weren’t exactly falling.
There has been a lot of skepticism about this Golden State team lately and about if they’re legitimately as good as people say they are or not. However, with Iguodala back and healthy, it certainly seems like they are every bit the real deal.