Defensive Usage: 9.7
Defensive PPP: .8
Net DRtg: -4.7
WAM: 96.29 (5)
Scouting: 92.7 (3)
Speed and Athleticism: 18.2
Andre Iguodala has exceptional speed and athleticism, and even guarding the 2 most of the time last year, he was able to dominate the league in isolation defense, giving up a Scrooge-McDuckian .58 points per play.
If you want to put that into perspective, in the 118 times he guarded the isolation play, his opponents scored 25 times in 86 games. That’s less than one iso bucket every three games.
So yeah, he’s kind of tough to get around.
Size and Strength: 19.5
Iguodala is not that big. He’s only 6’7” with a wingspan of 6’11”. That’s good size for a 2, but for the 3, it’s a little small. While it would be a stretch to say he “struggles” with picks, it’s fair to say he’s merely “very good” at dealing with them.
His opponents have more success scoring on him when he has to fight through the picks, whether they come off a screen, where he gives up .97 points per play, or they keep the ball on the pick-and-roll, where he gives up .82 points per play. In both instances, he’s in the top third of the league, but not in the top 25 percent.
He fights hard through screens, but he’s still overmatched physically, so he takes a moment to work his way through them, and that is often the difference his opponents need.
Iguodala generally plays hard. He plays really hard. He also played really hard in Denver, which is a really hard place to play really hard because of the altitude.
That worked in his favor a little, too, though, as George Karl was one of the best at using his bench to keep fresh lungs coming in, keeping the pressure turned up on the opposition.
As a result, Iguodala was generally fresher than his opponent. There’s certainly nothing “wrong” with that, but it’s hard to give him the same kind of score as a player like Luol Deng or Paul George who were playing monster minutes and/or seemingly the primary defender on virtually every play.
It would also be good to see Iguodala consistently find that “extra” gear when the game is on the line. He has found it sporadically, but not consistently. When he does find it, he’s as good of a defender as there is in basketball.
Basketball Intelligence: 18.0
There is probably no defender in the league who watches film as hard as Iguodala. He doesn’t start defending when his defender gets the ball. He’s started defending before the game ever started. He knows what his opponents want to do, and he knows to anticipate those things.
If you want to read a great article on just what that is, read this piece by Mat Moore of CBS Sports here. The general gist of it, if you don’t want to read it, is that Iguodala plays great defense between the ears, and that’s why he’s a great defender. He knows what he needs to do before he needs to do it.
He knows what the other team likes to do. He knows what other players like to do. He doesn’t just think about whom he’s playing against, he thinks about who he’s playing with. He’ll gamble more with Andre Miller than with Ty Lawson for example, because he knows with Miller he can get away with it.
Iguodala is the smartest, most well-prepared small forward in the league when it comes to defense.
He made the Denver Nuggets 4.7 points better while he was on the court, and he did that in just one season with the team. The fact that his presence immediately made the Nuggets a much-improved defensive team shows that he is a great help defender. Going to Golden State, he is going to be even better.
In the past, he’s always been the best offensive player on the team as well. Suddenly, he’s maybe the third option, maybe even the fourth. That means he can give all his energy on the defensive end now, which is a frightening prospect for opponents of the Warriors.
With Iguodala to help the perimeter defense and Andrew Bogut shoring up the interior defense, the Warriors are set defensively. That, combined with the perimeter scoring of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, as well as the interior scoring of David Lee, make the Warriors a well-balanced team. And to crown all that, Igudoala should make a great mentor for the young Harrison Barnes.
Iguodala, for the first time in his career, is going to have his primary job be the thing he is the best at. He should have the best defensive year of his career.