The Golden State Warriors were the surprise suitor who ended up landing one of the most coveted free agents of the offseason, swingman Andre Iguodala. Not only did the Warriors improve their wing defense with the acquisition, but they also ended up hurting the Denver Nuggets, Iguodala’s last team, in the process. Both head coaches, Mark Jackson and Brian Shaw, will have new lineup issues to solve, but Shaw will be grasping for anything that’ll stick at small forward, while Jackson has the luxury of a surplus of wing players.
The move hurts the Nuggets in both the short and long term, because their other star small forward Danilo Gallinari is still out, the Nuggets have no real answer at small forward. Corey Brewer, the other small froward the Nuggets had last season, recently signed to go back to Minnesota. The other options Shaw will have are Wilson Chandler or Anthony Randolph. If he were to place Randolph at small forward, the Nuggets could then put out one of the biggest lineups in the league, with three players close to seven feet tall on the floor (JaVale McGee and Darrell Arthur being the other two at power forward and center).
Adding Iguodala makes the Warriors deep at the wing, but not necessarily stronger than last year. The quality minutes that Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack provided off the bench can’t be replaced by Harrison Barnes or Klay Thompson. Jack was a ball-handler, and came up with big shots in unlikely moments, not that Barnes can’t develop into that type of player.
The Warriors gave up quite a bit to acquire Iguodala. It was mostly dead weight (Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins Biedrins to Utah), but they also had to send Brandon Rush to the Jazz to sweeten the deal. Keeping Rush would have created a glutton of small forwards, but now the Warriors face depth issues.
Iguodala does help solve the Warriors’ backup point guard problems, but don’t they won’t want him handling the ball too much, as he tends to fall in love with isolations and low percentage jumpers. This is the type of problem the Warriors want, though. Jackson now has problems that many coaches in the NBA dream of. The Warriors have so much flexibility with the types of lineups they can send on the court next year, and so much of it is due to Thompson, Barnes and Iguodala being able to play multiple positions.
Golden State also added another player to take that final shot.
Who do the Nuggs have to take key shots now, Danilo Gallinari ? He will be out for at least a portion of next season. Could Ty Lawson take the reigns and finally become an elite point guard? He surely will get to take a lot of shots in the triangle offense that Shaw runs.
There will only be one guarantee in the Iguodala move: The Nuggets will not win the Northwest Division next year, or anytime in the near future. Iguodala is one player that can go toe-to-toe with Kevin Durant and helped the Nuggets clinched the third seed in 2012-13. They will not finish in the top three in the West in 2014. They still have potential to land a playoff spot, but it would likely be one of the lower seeds.