Andre Iguodala's Ultimate Training Camp Checklist for 2013-14 Season
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Golden State already has an established superstar in Stephen Curry, a solid supporting cast and a rabid fanbase. All Iguodala has to do is go in there and play his game. Everything else will work itself out just fine.
That's not to say that Iguodala doesn't have to do any work on his game, though. As good as he is, there are a few improvements and adjustments he can make to fit in even better with the Warriors and help bring them from a solid playoff team to a legitimate title contender. Here are a few of the biggest things he'll want to work on in training camp.
1. Get To The Rim More
The numbers actually show that Iguodala got to the rim at a nice clip last season—he took nearly 300 shots from inside five feet. But many of those shots came in transition, and he probably settled for a few more mid-range jumpers than he needed to.
That's not intended as a slight on Iguodala, who wasn't running the offense all that much for the Denver Nuggets in the first place. Still, he's a good extra ball-handler, and considering the shooting on the Warriors' roster, he should be able to get to the rim like never before.
Harrison Barnes was the worst spot-up shooter of the Curry-Barnes-Klay Thompson trio, hitting 38 percent of all catch-and-shoot threes. Thompson came in second at 47 percent, and Curry hit an unbelievable 52 percent of his spot-up threes, per Synergy Sports Technology.
That gives the Warriors unmatched slash-and-kick potential, and Iguodala's just about the perfect player to take advantage of that. Iguodala is a fantastic passer (as seen below), but even more importantly, he's devastating around the rim.
Last season, Iguodala shot 74 percent in the restricted area, second in the league among players with at least 200 attempts. The only other guard in the top 15 was Dwyane Wade, who finished 11th.
Iguodala is capable of acrobatic layups, but to be honest, his numbers around the rim are so good because he dunks almost everything—he threw down nearly 150 dunks in the 2012-13 season alone.
When Iguodala's attacking the paint for Golden State, he's going to put opposing defenses in quite the bind. They can choose to collapse on him, leaving at least one knockdown shooter open. Or they can play him straight, hoping that he doesn't just put up an easy shot at the basket. It's the ideal situation for the Warriors.
It goes without saying that Curry's going to handle the ball for long stretches, but when Iguodala takes point, he'd do well to attack the basket as much as possible. The Warriors' shooters put tremendous pressure on defenses, and Iguodala is more than capable of taking advantage of that in one way or another.
2. Continue Playing Great/Versatile Defense
Obviously this isn't an area of improvement for Iguodala—he's already one of the best defenders in the league. But his defense is going to be absolutely critical for the Warriors next season, and it just feels too important to gloss over here.
It'll likely take a bit of time for Iguodala to adjust to the Warriors' defensive scheme, but there's no question that he'll fit right in. He's one of the smartest defenders in the league (just listen to him break down split-second defensive decisions) and does just about everything right on that end.
Last season, the Nuggets were nearly five points per 100 possessions better defensively with Iguodala on the court, and he held opposing 2s and 3s to a 12.7 and 9.9 PER respectively, per 82games.com. It's that defensive versatility that's going to be particularly key for the Warriors this coming season.
Iguodala can mark the opponent's best offensive player almost no matter who he is, leaving the Warriors' other wings to focus on their offense. Thompson recently told the San Francisco Chronicle's Rusty Simmons:
Last year, when I was busting my tail to chase Tony Parker around a triple screen and then tried to do the same thing on the offensive end, it got tiring. I'm not going to lie. But this year, we have so much balance and so much depth that you can play your hardest and get a blow without there being a drop-off.
Andrew Bogut will also really benefit from Iguodala being at the top of his game on the defensive end. Bogut was phenomenal defensively for the Warriors last season, particularly in the playoffs. But he's also played just 44 regular-season games over the past two years, and not having to do too much defensively could make all the difference in the world when it comes to staying healthy.
Again, this really just comes down to how quickly Iguodala can adjust to what the Warriors do. If he can get it down in a hurry, the Warriors will easily vault past last season's 19th-ranked defense, per Basketball-Reference.
3. Improve Spot-up Shooting
As we covered above, Iguodala's likely going to spend a decent chunk of time on the ball for Golden State.
However, part of what pushed the Warriors deep in last year's playoffs was handing the offensive keys to Curry, and that's not something they're just going to throw away this season. Because as it turns out, not a ton of NBA defenses are prepared for a 45 percent three-point shooter to come firing out of every pick-and-roll.
Iguodala's going to be all right when he's off the ball even if he doesn't develop a solid three-point stroke simply because he's such a sneaky cutter.
Still, the Warriors are very good at finding open three-point shooters (in part because David Lee and Bogut are such good passers), and if Iguodala can improve even just a bit from last season, it would be a big step in the right direction. Last year, Iguodala hit 35 percent of his spot-up threes, but the way in which he did so was very odd, per Synergy Sports Technology.
Iguodala shot 36 percent on above-the-break threes, but just 26 percent from the corners, including a dreadful 20 percent from the right corner. The corner three is perhaps the most efficient shot in basketball, and the fact that Iguodala hits it at a much lower rate than he does above-the-break threes is head-scratching.
Iguodala's never been a particularly good shooter from deep—his 40 percent three-point shooting with the Philadelphia 76ers two seasons ago appears to be an outlier—so it'd be a big surprise to see him lighting it up from outside this season. Still, if he focuses solely on the corners and takes only open threes, there's no reason he can't shoot respectable percentages.
One of the major problems the Warriors had playing Draymond Green last season was his inability to shoot—Green's defender could roam defensively, and Green was rarely able to punish him for it. Iguodala is obviously a much, much better offensive player than Green, but the Warriors could still run into that problem here and there if he doesn't at least up his corner shooting to a respectable level.
Definitely something to work on.
4. Cut Down On Turnovers
Last but not least, the turnovers. This isn't an absolutely huge deal (thus why it's last), as 2.5 turnovers per game isn't too bad when you're responsible for as much playmaking as Iguodala is. Still, it's something to improve upon, and he's more than capable of it.
Turnover-wise, Iguodala's biggest issue is trying to make plays that simply aren't there, most frequently when he's in the pick-and-roll. Iguodala turned it over on a whopping 25 percent of the pick-and-rolls he ran last season, a crazy percentage for a star player, per Synergy Sports Technology.
Iguodala ran into a lot of trouble when teams blitzed him with another defender in the pick-and-roll. Rather than accept that a play simply wasn't there, Iguodala would sometimes try to force a skip pass over both defenders or a tough bounce pass to his rolling big, both of which were almost always deflected for easy turnovers.
Iguodala also had problems with out-of-control drives and, at times, was too flashy for his own good.
Even when Iguodala wasn't blitzed and he got to the second line of defenders, he'd sometimes jump and just hope a pass was available—never a recipe for success. The flashiness comes down to behind-the-back passes—he likes to throw a lot of them, and while they're awesome when they work, too often his bigs simply weren't prepared for them or he threw them right into the arms of a defender.
Again, some of this stuff is simply a casualty of being a playmaker, but a good bit of it falls on Iguodala's shoulders. If he cuts out a few poor decisions, the Golden State offense should run without a hitch.
Iguodala's primed to give the Warriors great production this season, even if he doesn't make any of the improvements/adjustments listed above. Golden State seems to have legitimate title aspirations, though, and any improvements Iguodala can make would go a long way in making those dreams a reality. Get ready for a fun season in the Bay Area.
All stats courtesy of NBA.com if not specifically stated otherwise.
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