The Golden State Warriors are 31-21 and have a chance to win 50 or more games in a season for the first time in 20 years. And think about this: Should the Warriors get to the postseason this year—a very likely occurrence—it will be just the second time in more than 35 years that the team has gone to the postseason in back-to-back seasons.
Why then does something feel so wrong with the Warriors these days? Well, because as good as they are, many thought they would be better. The same holds true for Andre Iguodala, whom the Warriors acquired in a sign-and-trade this offseason for four years and $48 million.
Iguodala has been mostly fine. He’s contributed in a variety of ways, though sometimes the contributions are tough to locate. Those contributions have also yet to show up in the standings—where the Warriors are on roughly the same 47-win pace of a year ago.
Iguodala was supposed to be the player to take the Warriors to the next level—to championship contender material. And why not? The Warriors went to the second round of the NBA playoffs a year ago. Throw in an NBA All-Star and Olympian in Iguodala, and it wasn’t crazy to think the Warriors could take the next step—Western Conference finals, maybe even beyond.
But Iguodala and the Warriors haven’t quite clicked. Sometimes, Iguodala has been an important two-way player, shutting down his opposite number and filling in all the loose cracks on the offensive end. Other times, you can watch a quarter-and-a-half of Warriors basketball and barely notice he’s on the floor.
It hasn’t helped that a hamstring injury forced Iguodala to miss a dozen games earlier this season, and there are whispers that the injury is nagging.
Still, in 40 games, some of Iguodala’s numbers are startling. Despite plenty of playing time, Iguodala has taken 10 or more shots in a game just eight times. He’s scored in double figures in just 14 games. His field-goal attempts per game (7.4) are the lowest since his rookie season.
There was a point earlier this year when Iguodala’s statistical impact—or non-impact—didn’t matter. The Warriors were 19-6 in games that he played in, so that seemed to be enough proof of Iguodala’s impact and contribution. But the Warriors are 7-8 in their past 15 games, and Iguodala has been a part of all of them—but not enough of a part, many feel.
One thing working against Iguodala is that his offseason signing, in essence, meant the Warriors weren’t going to be able to re-sign Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry. That was going to be tricky anyway, but once Iguodala came on board, letting that twosome go became a fait accompli.
Jack and Landry were vital to the Warriors’ success a year ago. At several points during the season, both of them made impacting plays and had huge roles in games that Golden State won.
Jack, for example, scored 20 or more points in six of the Warriors’ 12 playoff games last season. Iguodala has scored 20 points in a game once in three months. That might be a little bit of a cheap shot because we all know Iguodala does other things.
It’s also true that Jack often came off the bench specifically to score, while Iguodala frequently plays alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and David Lee—where the ball will feel like a rare collector’s item at times.
Scoring isn’t the only facet of Iguodala’s game that is waning. His assists and rebounds are down, and he’s either failed or hasn’t been given a chance to be Curry’s permanent understudy at the 1—something the Warriors desperately need.
There’s still time, of course, for Iguodala to make the kind of impact ownership and the fans hoped he would make. The most meaningful part of the season is still to come, and perhaps that’s when Iguodala will show himself because he’s been kind of hard to see so far.
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