So much about the Golden State Warriors’ perceived “culture change” has been centered on defense, which the team has struggled with in recent years.
Last season, that goal came to fruition. Not only did the Warriors finish third in the league in opponents’ field-goal percentage (43.6%), but they also have a player on the NBA All-Defensive First Team: Andre Iguodala.
Iguodala, in his first season with the Warriors, averaged 9.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.2 assists. But where he made the biggest impact was on defense. He routinely shut down other teams’ stars, with his quick reaction and long wingspan.
“He allows us to stay simple with our game plans,” said Stephen Curry to SI in a piece chronicling Iguodala. “Historically here, we’ve always had to bring more attention to those wing guys that are great scorers, like [Kevin] Durant or James. Having a guy like Dre, you can let him play one-on-one and stick to your normal team defense. You don’t have to do anything creative to put those guys under duress, because he can do it on his own.”
Iguodala is the first Warrior to make an All-Defensive Team since Latrell Sprewell during the 1993-1994 season, and the first since Nate Thurmond in 1970-1971 to make the First Team.
He also tweeted presumably about the acknowledgment. His Twitter account is very cryptic and hard to dissect, but he may be talking about his doubters here:
Oh so now you see…
— Andre Iguodala (@andre) June 2, 2014
This is also Iguodala’s first appearance on an All-Defensive First Team; he made Second Team back in 2011 with the 76ers. Joining him on this year’s First Team squad are Serge Ibaka, Joakim Noah, Paul George, and Chris Paul.
Absent from the All-NBA Defensive Teams was Andrew Bogut, who obviously had a tremendous effect on the Warriors’ defense. What’s even more surprising was that David Lee received a vote for the Second Team (probably someone who thought it would be funny), and Stephen Curry got a First Team vote.