Andre Iguodala’s influence felt by Warriors on and off court
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Andre Iguodala offered a good-natured shoutout to those behind the design of his creative and coveted golf-themed bobblehead doll handed out Tuesday night. Other than that moment, he wanted to talk basketball and stick strictly to business.
Well, mostly. He mixed in a little bit of timely humor.
The unheralded Iguodala and the rest of Golden State’s second team have been tested in a new way this season with the addition of Kevin Durant and ever-changing roles. Sometimes, the subs are needed for long stretches and other games not as much. They have adjusted, just as two-time reigning MVP Stephen Curry has done sharing the ball and the glory with Durant.
With Klay Thompson out Tuesday night to rest following an illness, the Warriors needed nearly everybody to get past pesky Miami.
Iguodala’s influence down the stretch meant so much, as it has whenever he comes into the game in coach Steve Kerr’s regular rotation. He even threw out a jab when asked about Thompson being out.
”Defensively, we got a lot of stops in the third, so I noticed that he wasn’t out there,” Iguodala said, stone-faced, then offered, ”No one got that joke.”
Iguodala and Golden State player development coach Chris DeMarco have their own system to determine a good game for the 2015 NBA Finals MVP.
Making the extra pass that leads to an assist. Rebounding to get things rolling. Those kinds of things.
”I’ve been feeling good for a good month. Once we got to mid-December, I started catching my stride,” Iguodala said. ”It may not show it some nights on the stat sheet, but in a really good rhythm, so I’m just trying to keep that up.”
The veteran guard did a little bit of everything in a well-rounded performance against the Heat. His efforts to move the ball helped the offense finally get back in a flow. He crashed the boards and pushed the tempo in transition.
In the 107-95 win, Iguodala finished with nine points, five rebounds, four assists and no turnovers in 29 minutes. In fact, he hasn’t turned the ball over the past four games while dishing out 15 assists. That turnover-free stretch matches a career-best run from Dec. 30, 2014, to Jan. 7, 2015.
”I think he’s in a good groove. The last couple of games he’s played really well,” Kerr said. ”He had a stretch there where he wasn’t in a good flow, but he does so much for us and the last couple of games are really indicative of who he is and what he does for us. A little bit of everything with great defense, but I’m pretty sure the last two games combined he’s got nine assists and no turnovers. He kind of gets us settled. He did a great job.”
During last season’s postseason run, which ended with a Game 7 NBA Finals loss to LeBron James and Cleveland, Kerr noted ”he’s always kind of our unsung hero.”
And that’s just fine for the guy wearing No. 9.
All-Stars Curry, Durant, Draymond Green and Thompson can have the limelight.
When Iguodala gets his chance, he routinely delivers.
”Everybody’s out there trying to play with a purpose regardless who’s in the game, and everyone wants to make an impact,” he said. ”We’ve had our moments this year where we’ve played really well with those guys. We’re confident and we just want to be useful out there.”
Green will always appreciate Iguodala, who along with Shaun Livingston has been a mentor for young guards like Ian Clark and Patrick McCaw. That goes a long way with Kerr’s trust and appreciation. The reigning Coach of the Year joked a couple of months back that if anyone on his roster were capable of being President, it would be Iguodala.
Then, Kerr changed his tune and chose Durant.
”Andre could be a good president, but he knows too much and he sees too much and he would just be so disgusted by the process he would just walk away,” Kerr quipped. ”Normally I would say Andre, but I’ve got to find the most diplomatic guy, so I’ll go with KD.”
When Iguodala heard the coach’s thoughts, he just shrugged and moved on to basketball – that’s just his understated style.
”Andre’s one of those guys that what he does for a team will never show up in the stat sheet, even if he scored 20 points,” Green said. ”What he does still won’t show up.”