Dec 23, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) drives to the basket during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center. The Warriors won 89-81. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Andre Iguodala Needs to Be More Aggressive

Since returning from a hamstring injury, Andre Iguodala has been dramatically less aggressive. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

At their best, the Golden State Warriors’ pace-and-space offense will overwhelm any opponent.

The unparalleled combination of creative passing and perimeter shooting punishes defensive errors and allows the Warriors to take advantage of and create many opportunities not available to the average team.  However, in recent weeks, one important cog has been generally absent.

Since returning from a hamstring injury, Andre Iguodala has been dramatically less aggressive. His role as an off-the-catch dribble drive penetrator is a central gear in the Warriors’ offensive machine. In the opening weeks of the season, Iguodala functioned as an important creative weapon, as well as an unsustainably great spot up shooter.  Although he does not need to shoot over 50-percent from behind the arc to bring the Warriors’ success, Iguodala should remain focused on creating opportunities for Golden State’s perimeter oriented attack.

In 33 games played this season, Iguodala has a usage percentage of 13.4 percent (with five players on the court per team at all times, the average usage percentage is 20), the lowest of his career since his rookie season in Philadelphia.  Partly due to this decreased usage, Iguodala is performing at career -best efficiency levels, shooting an incredible 60 percent adjust field goal percentage (accounts for the added value of a three point shot versus a two).  However, the Warriors would be happy to sacrifice a little of Iguodala’s efficiency in exchange for an increased amount of drive attempts that open the offense.

Although he scores at an efficient rate, an Andre Iguodala who spots up  in the corners for the entirety of a possession is not as beneficial as an aggressive, driving, cutting, and kicking one.  Despite his spot-up success, teams have not treated Iguodala as a threat from the perimeter (a factor that contributes to his high conversion rates).  Opposing wings will help of Iguodala to crowd drives or help down on role men, stalling the Warriors offense.  Were Iguodala operating at the desired level of offensive aggression, upon receiving the ball in the corner his options would not generally be limited to a quick shot or pass. Rather, he would leverage the threat of a jump shot and drive past the defender, opening opportunities for a pass out to superior shooting threats.

The Warriors offense is capable of a high level of offensive efficiency without Iguodala operating at full potential.  Considering the further benefits that a more aggressive performance from Iguodala could provide, and the Warriors’ offense, ranked a relatively disappointing 12th in points per possession this season (this is party due to the injury stretch from which the team recently emerged), remains an imposing weapon.

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