Andre Iguodala must continue to be aggressive

Jan 22, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) against the Orlando Magic during the second quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 22, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) against the Orlando Magic during the second quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Golden State Warriors’ veteran forward Andre Iguodala will need to play aggressively while Kevin Durant is sidelined with an injury.

There’s no replacing Kevin Durant. The type of production that he brings can only be matched by a select few in the league. His injury is obviously a huge blow to the team.

The Golden State Warriors need to find ways to adapt. Losing a star of that caliber impacts the lineups. Steve Kerr must now find rotations that make sense, striking a balance of keeping scorers on the floor while providing ample rest for the team’s top weapons.

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Of course, the team starts and ends with Stephen Curry. The Warriors will go as far as he will take them. The two-time MVP needs to get back on track in order for Golden State to continue to stay on top of the league.

He can’t do it alone, however. He’s going to need help from his teammates. Klay Thompson must continue to score at a high level and Draymond Green needs to be the floor general that led Golden State to 73 regular season wins.

It doesn’t stop there. The Dubs are going to need someone outside of their Big Three-turned-Core Four-turned-Big Three-again to step up. This is where Andre Iguodala steps in.

The 2015 Finals MVP is a very up-and-down player. He truly embodies the idea that the regular season doesn’t really matter and chooses to preserve himself for the playoffs. He oftentimes takes it slow, pouring out minimal effort during games he deems unimportant or when his contributions aren’t necessary for victory.

He has not been a consistent starter in the Kerr era and his responsibilities seem to go down every year. Iguodala doesn’t need to carry the load like he did for the Philadelphia 76ers or the Denver Nuggets. He doesn’t even need to be as vital to the Warriors’ success as he was during Mark Jackson’s last year in the Bay Area.

Generally, he’s called upon to be another ball handler and defensive specialist. With Durant out, though, Iguodala is going to need to do much more. He’s going to need to be aggressive.

The veteran forward showed that he can still hoop in the Warriors’ win over the Atlanta Hawks. He scored 21 points on 6/8 shooting. He connected on four of his three-point attempts and knocked down 8/11 from the line.

He stepped up on a night where Golden State trailed by as much as 15 points. Thompson couldn’t find the range and Curry struggled early. The Warriors are struggling to muster offense and they needed a boost.

He attacked the rim, turning back the clock and throwing down a slam. He spread the floor by knocking down his open looks from beyond the arc. He took it right into the defense and got to the line.

It was a throwback performance for Iguodala. At times, he looked like the best player on the floor. He had three steals and one block. He also dished out four assists and hauled in five boards. He was in control, changing pace when he needed to.

Iguodala probably doesn’t need to score 24 points every night for the Warriors to win. No one expects that level of production, but he’s hit double digit scoring in two of his last three games. He just needs to take–and make–the open looks he gets instead of overpassing and overcomplicating things.

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Despite being a poor free throw shooter, he needs to continue to try to get to the line. Even if he only makes a few, it puts pressure on the defense, gets the other team in foul trouble, and opens up the potential for more free throws for the good shooters. He can’t be afraid of getting hit.

With Durant down, it’s all hands on deck. The Spurs are close to overtaking Golden State for the top spot on the West. Andre Iguodala can’t cruise through the regular season like he generally does, he has to play with a sense of urgency from now until June.