It’s been reported that Andre Iguodala is expected to “seriously consider” other teams during his free agency this summer.
The Golden State Warriors superteam is perfectly constructed. All the guys complement each other. Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry are the headliners, but it’s the role players who are comfortable enough coming off the bench that adds to the Warriors being so lethal. One of those guys is Andre Iguodala, who’s entering unrestricted free agency.
According to The Vertical’s Shams Charania, the former Finals MVP will keep his options open during the summer. It’s no secret that Iguodala’s going to be a hot commodity. Ever since the Denver Nuggets traded him in July 2013, Iggy’s done nothing but good things for Golden State and has been tremendous in all of their success.
Also Read: The NBA Playoffs’ Most Memorable Moments
He accepted a new role with splendid open-mindedness. After the 2014 season, rookie head coach Steve Kerr thought the best move was to have Iguodala be the sixth man. He’s been invaluable in that role. It was shocking to hear the news because, at one point, Iguodala was one the league’s most versatile small forwards — a poor man’s LeBron James, if you will. Iggy spent the first eight years of his career with the Philadelphia 76ers, where he averaged 15.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.6 steals. That included a four-year stretch from 2006 to 2010 where those numbers improved to 18.5, 5.8, 5.4 and 1.8, respectively. He, James and Kobe Bryant were the only three players to average at least 15-5-5 during that span. (Tyreke Evans is on the list too, but that’s because he put up 20.1 points, 5.8 dimes and 5.3 boards during his rookie year of 2009-2010.)
Iguodala, who’ll be 34 next January, has landed on an All-Defensive team twice and was an All-Star in 2012, even though he could’ve been selected during any of the previous years. He did anything and everything for the Sixers to keep them competitive, and he did it with high energy, athleticism and efficiency. All of those have translated seamlessly to the Warriors.
Two of Iggy’s best assets are his defense and his passing. Both are vital to Golden State’s success. Iguodala’s impact isn’t lessened just because he’s playing fewer minutes; it’s about the same when adjusted for pace. His scoring has taken a hit, but it’s almost unnoticeable because of guys like Durant, Curry and Klay Thompson. One thing that’s improved, however, is his outside shooting. Because Iguodala’s on a team where he’s not the center of attention, opponents are content with letting him take outside shots because, statistically, he’s not going to make them. He isn’t on the level of Steph or Klay, but a 36 percent clip from three is 3.1 percentage points higher than his career mark with the Philadelphia.
Also Read: Why The 2017 NBA Finals Were Incredible
The Warriors put up a ton of threes, but their unselfishness leads to some of the best looks in the NBA. Basketball Reference estimated that 36.1 percent of Iguodala’s attempts came inside of three feet — the highest since he posted 35.4 in 2009. It’s greater than previous seasons because Durant’s addition spaced the floor even more. Regardless, Iggy still converts on those open looks at nearly the same rate, and he finished this year at 76.7 percent.
He’s one of those players whom stats don’t give justice too. They form the outline, but you have to watch the Warriors play to fully absorb his value. To see him at his best, however, you need to keep an eye on him when Golden State runs their death lineup.
Steve Kerr has deployed this five-man rotation at length for the last two seasons. Not much has changed, except the upgrade of Harrison Barnes to Kevin Durant. During the regular season, the lineup of Curry, Klay, Durant, Iguodala and Draymond Green was plus-123 in 45 total games, working out an average of plus-2.7 a night. Not too shabby. And then you look at their net rating. Per 100 possessions, that lineup was 24.6 points better than their competition.
In the postseason? A cool plus-27.3. Iggy isn’t the key to this lineup, but he’s worth just as much as the other four alongside him. (Just for comparison, the Warriors were plus-16.5 when Iguodala was swapped for Zaza Pachulia.) Without a traditional center on the floor, all five guys are virtually interchangeable, and that’s crucial to their success. We see it happening slowly, but more and more teams are investing in small ball lineups.
Golden State started the trend, and it’s most effective when guarding pick-and-rolls, which is where all of the best players excel. It’s easier to notice in the last two Finals, but the Cavaliers exploited both Andrew Bogut and Pachulia (and JaVale McGee) with Kyrie Irving and would set high screen after high screen. Iguodala replaces the center and limits that because he’s big athletic enough to switch and big enough not to.
Most of the teams in the NBA would be able to run their own death lineup with Iguodala because the biggest challenge is running three forwards who don’t have a grand disparity in skill.
Andre Iguodala has done a lot in a short time for Golden State; I mean, he’s got more Finals MVP than Curry and just as many as Kevin Durant. He’s not a better player than the both of them, but it shows that means almost as much. Knowing that, I’d be shocked to see Iguodala not attempt to squeeze every last dollar out of whoever tries to sign him. That would’ve likely been the case anyway, but he’s maximized himself with Golden State and exceeded a lot of expectations.
I expect him to get close to what he wants, but any organization willing to give Iguodala the max needs to reconsider — quickly. He isn’t worth it going on 34-years-old. Especially since being a lockdown defender is his biggest attribute and he’ll only digress as Father Time gains ground on him.
Almost immediately, the 76ers seem like a potential landing spot. If Iguodala is going to retire within the next couple of seasons, why do it anywhere other than the place that loved him? It would be a sentimental signing more than anything else, but he’ll be a wealth of knowledge to a core of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and Markelle Fultz (barring any funny business on draft night).
Start a conversation with me on Twitter