The Golden State Warriors are two wins away from their fourth straight trip to the NBA Finals, but they will not have forward Andre Iguodala in their lineup Tuesday for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the Houston Rockets:
On Monday, Anthony Slater of The Athletic reported Iguodala was doubtful for the contest with knee soreness. Slater explained Iguodala's left knee contusion "worsened overnight," which forced him to miss practice.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com added context to the initial report, noting Iguodala underwent X-rays:
Ramona Shelburne @ramonashelburne
From what I understand, the bruise on Iguodala's knee is actually slightly below his kneecap. One Warriors source I spoke to said there was optimism he'd be upgraded. But obviously they didn't expect it to get worse overnight so best not to guess until X-rays come back.
The Arizona product started only seven of the 64 games he played during the regular season, averaging 6.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per night. However, head coach Steve Kerr has given him the starting nod in 12 of Golden State's 13 playoff contests to this point.
Iguodala is averaging 7.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists in the postseason. He's also shooting 35.5 percent from three-point range after going only 28.2 percent from deep during the regular season.
Iguodala's ability to shoot from deep makes the "Hamptons 5" lineup of him, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green all the more dangerous because defenders can't cheat off anyone on the outside with so much shooting talent spread across the floor.
That lineup boasts a plus-minus of plus-8.1 through the first 13 playoff games, per NBA.com.
Iguodala is even more valuable to Golden State on defense due to his ability to defend both guards and forwards. Golden State's defensive rating is 99.2 when he's on the floor and 102.3 when he's off in the playoffs, per NBA.com.
Even without Iguodala, Golden State is still a dominant team, as no other club has four All-Stars to rely on when a starter goes down. However, Iguodala is an important cog for the Warriors to repeat as champions.
Even if Golden State gets past Houston without him, it can only hope Iguodala is back by the NBA Finals. He would be able to defend someone like LeBron James or Jayson Tatum and take some of the defensive pressure off Durant and others while still spacing the floor on offense.