Welcome back… (Part 1 here)
Who would have thought that the Warriors would find the missing link? Not I. The signing of Andre Iguodala came out of left field. I call him Iggy Pop, because he rocks. He is built like he was carved out of the very Rocky Mountain the Warriors climbed and conquered last season. How fortunate are the Warriors to get the best player from the last team they beat last season?…
As Golden State steps forward, Iguodala is an NBA All-Star, an All-NBA Defensive team member and an Olympic gold medalist, whom has valuable experience playing with Stephen Curry in Turkey during the 2010 World Championships.
Defensively, Iguodala is world-class. He has the ability to shut down three positions, and he even played the power forward position back in his college days at Arizona. Instead of listening to me try to explain the way he approaches defense to you, I’ve found a few one-minute shorts straight out of the horse’s mouth.
And another one…
“Dre” is what you call a point-forward. He handles it in a similar fashion to the great Scottie Pippen of the Chicago Bulls. He loves to push the tempo of the game, using early offense to his teams advantage, something this group of Warriors is very fond of doing. He’s terrific at breaking opponents down off the dribble, forcing help defenders on to him. What I’ve noticed is when this happens, Iguodala doesn’t play around. He tends to go straight for the jugular, throwing a dart to a well-positioned big man or even a lob at full speed. Not to rub it in or anything, but at some point next season, someone somewhere will write an article entitled “Jack Who?”
Iggy may have had a down year last season, scoring 13 points per contest, but don’t be fooled: he can score. His strength around the basket with either hand is simply amazing– second-best finisher in the league to LeBron James, according to Golden State Warriors’ general manager Bob Myers. He can knock down the three as well, shooting it at a career 33 percent mark. If you enjoy Jordan-esque dunks, this is your man.
Intangibles: Playmaker, Tough, Versatile, also known for playing defense in his sleep… according to him.
Who’s got a better new nickname than Marreese Speights? No–Body. I’m calling him “The coffin maker.” Someone needs to find Speights a bowler hat right away. And don’t let him put his hands on your shoulders, he might be measuring you.
Marreese is as tough as they come, known for showing opposing players no love. The power-forward/center stands 6’10” inches tall and weighs in at 255 pounds of don’t mess with me. He’s said to feed off of the fans emotion… and I like that.
Offensively: He can size you up and nail down that top of the key jump shot. He lives to catch opponents sleeping, step in and throw down the vicious one-handed jam. This gives Marreese the affinity for playing pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop basketball. He likes to run the floor, and to quote Gary St. Jean, a voice of the Golden State Warriors: ” You’ve got to love a big fella that rim runs.” This means that after your team secures possession of the ball, you run the court at full speed, directly underneath the basket.
Rebounding is one of Speights’ strong suits also, averaging 4.4 over his career in just 16.4 minutes per game.
Stat of the day: Marreese Speights’ Player Efficiency Rating (PER) was 17.35 last season. That’s excellent production.
Intangibles: Continuity. Speights played ball in Philadelphia with Iguodala. Remember how valuable that was last season with “The Freight Train” Jarrett Jack and “Lando” Carl Landry.
What team is complete without a backup point guard that can flat-out defend? None. Jumping right back to team chemistry, Toney Douglas played with David Lee back in their New York Knick days. Going blow-for-blow with the best competition in the world has been “James” Toney Douglas’s calling card. Back in his college days at Florida State, he had to fight against the likes of Chris Paul, Ty Lawson, Raymond Felton and Jeff Teague. His favorite player growing up was the same as mine… Michael Jordan.
Defensively, Douglas has managed to make a name for himself in this league. Last season, he even managed to cool off Stephen Curry for a spell, holding him to 1-of-7 from the field. Douglas plays both the passing lanes and on ball defense relentlessly. He can play either the point guard or shooting for you.
Offensively, he can and will shoot it. Toney had a game on St. Patty’s Day of 2011 against the Memphis Grizzlies where he hit nine three-pointers. He’s got a good handle and will occasionally show off his penchant for flare mixing in a behind-the-back pass. He prefers to use a step-back jump shot to give him space over some of the larger players. This little defensive/offensive move is great considering he is primarily a pick-and-roll point guard who gets switched onto bigs from time to time. When he does take it to the rim, I’ve noticed he slaps the backboard… now there’s old school for you. You can breathe a sigh of relief, he hits his free-throws at an 84 percent clip for his career.
Which Warrior could talk til’ the sun comes up? Draymond Green, no doubt. I’m changing Draymond’s nickname from “Money” Green to “Mr. Intangible” because that is what being a glue guy is all about. If anything, this guy is super glue. He brings a high basketball I.Q., a winner’s mentality and that fight for every inch toughness you want in all of your players. Green, last I checked, has lost 13 pounds this summer, which makes me wonder… are Draymond and Harrison Barnes switching positions next season?
Defense is where Green is getting most of his playing time. He’s a hard worker who moves his feet well for a man who claims to be un-athletic. He’s also not bad at keeping a body on a guy when locked up in a post battle. He’s the first man to dive on the floor for a loose ball, which is a great thing because it becomes contagious. He’ll get you some deflections which is always a point of emphasis among coaches.
Offensively Drain-mond had a few big moments last season. He beat the Miami Heat with 0.9 seconds left on the clock on a backdoor cut. In the playoffs, he had a couple of big time performances, scoring 14 and 16 points, respectively. In those games, we found out that he can catch and shoot. He even put the ball on the deck a few times taking it all the way to the rack. He has continued to work on his game this off-season, being a featured force on the Las Vegas Summer League Championship winning Warriors squad.
Intangibles: Mr. Intangible
Part 3 coming soon…