With the Orlando Magic exploring every Dwight Howard trade scenario they could possibly think of, the Denver Nuggets found a way to enter the deal and steal Andre Iguodala away from the Philadelphia 76ers.
In order to acquire Iguodala, the Nuggets needed to trade away Al Harrington, Arron Afflalo and a protected first-round pick. Both Harrington and Afflalo are solid role players, but neither really have the star potential that Iggy has. Neither of the former Nuggets have any form of accolades while playing in the NBA, where Iguodala was named to the 2011 NBA All-Defensive Second Team and was a member of the Eastern Conference All-Star Team just last season.
Iguodala should be able to step into Denver’s lineup right away and become a leader instantly. The team has a ton of talent, but they are very young and have little NBA experience compared to the other teams that made the playoffs last season. Out of every player on their roster, Andre Miller is the only one who has been in the league for more than five seasons. Iguodala will play a veteran’s role and will be looked up to by the rest of his teammates at only 28 years of age.
It also won’t be difficult for Iguodala to fit into Denver’s starting lineup since they are a newly constructed team. The majority of the players on the team first joined the Nuggets within the past two seasons.
Based on ESPN.com’s projected depth chart for the Denver Nuggets in 2012-13, the starting lineup will be Ty Lawson, Iguodala, Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee. Lawson is the player in that starting lineup that has the most experience with the Nuggets and he’s only been in the NBA for three seasons. Since this group hasn’t had years to mesh together anyway, Iguodala won’t have to feel like the new guy on the team like most players who get traded do.
As for the team’s style of play, this is the main reason why Iguodala should really have an opportunity to thrive. George Karl has always been known as an offensive-minded coach, but the team has put an emphasis on defense with their acquisitions over the past two seasons, which is Iguodala’s best attribute.
During the 2011 NBA Draft, the Nuggets selected Kenneth Faried with the 22nd overall pick in the first round. The undersized power forward can’t create his offense too well, but brings a tremendous amount of energy on the glass and on the defensive end. The team also traded for JaValee McGee last season. McGee thrives on his defensive ability and was second in the league in blocks last season with 2.16 per game.
This team was already dominant on the interior defensively and now will have Iguodala who can be the primary perimeter defender. Last year Iggy was sixth in the NBA in steals per game with 1.73. Having top-ten perimeter and interior defenders on the same team makes the Denver Nuggets extremely difficult to put up huge scoring numbers on.
The move from Philadelphia to Denver should also improve Iguodala’s scoring numbers. In Philly, he needed to play out of position a lot since his best teammates: Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams and Evan Turner, were all guards. Now in Denver, Iggy will be playing alongside some very talented small forwards, Danillo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler.
Both of these players are capable of putting up huge scoring totals on any given night and will relieve some of the pressure off Iguodala to be the team’s main scoring threat.
Overall, Iguodala’s move to Denver should benefit himself individually as well as the team. Both the lineup he will be inserted into and the team’s style of play should really bring out of the best in Iguodala.
The Denver Nuggets are a team on the rise and Andre Iguodala will only improve this team that much more.