The Golden State Warriors’ Andre Iguodala has struggled throughout the year, but it looks like the All-Star break helped as he’s returning to form.
The Golden State Warriors almost lost Andre Iguodala in the offseason. The reserve forward nearly joined James Harden in Houston, and he received from interest from the Spurs as well. At the last minute, Bob Myers and Steve Kerr came in and got Iguodala the type of deal he wanted: three years an $48 million dollars.
For most of the season, it looked like the Warriors would have been better off letting him go. He has looked a step slow and not just in the “I’m going to pace myself during the regular season” way. Iguodala’s play has looked like that of a 34-year-old player who has won two championships, been handed a lot of guaranteed money, and possibly has a foot out the door towards retirement.
It was frustrating watching the former All-Star play basketball. His two most-needed skills–defense and playmaking–seemed to be in decline. He refused to attack the rim and his jump shot was nonexistent. He wasn’t doing the little things that the Warriors have relied upon to win over the last several seasons.
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Iguodala has served as a stabilizing force for the team during their championship run. When things got a little wild, he was the one to come in and calm everything down. This season, though, he had been part of the problem, not the solution.
After dealing with various injuries and the team’s general lack of energy in the first part of the year, he has looked like the Iguodala of old since returning from the All-Star break. Though it’s a small sample size, his statistics in every category except assists have increased. And, he’s doing it all in fewer minutes.
Like Kerr said, the Warriors needed the break. Perhaps no one needed it more than Iguodala, though. He’s come back with fresh legs and a renewed focus. He looks prepared to get the Warriors back on top.
Not only is he shooting a higher percentage from the field and three-point range (43 and 23 percent vs. 75 and 75 percent, respectively), but he just seems more aggressive. He’s pushing the ball in transition and going up strong at the hoop. He’s taking what the defense gives him, and even looking for his own shot at times when the Warriors don’t have anything going for them.
His hands have been active on defense. His decision making has been better. He’s been faster with more bounce.
It’s possible that Iguodala’s early season struggles were a combination of a disinterested vet and genuine poor play. He seems to have returned to form. The Warriors–as a whole–are much more engaged now, especially after falling behind Houston in the standings.
Golden State is going to need this level of play from Iguodala to win in the postseason. With the Rockets looking like a legitimate threat, they will need the 2015 Finals MVP to show up.
It’s only been a few games, but it’s nice to see that Iguodala isn’t done yet and that he can still contribute to a team with title hopes.