As we previously touched on, the Golden State Warriors have reached an agreement with Andre Iguodala on a four-year $48 million contract. The deal can only be officially signed on July 10 once the moratorium on offseason moves is lifted.
Heading into the 2013 offseason, the Dubs were quite close to luxury tax territory and thus could not sign any free agents to lucrative deals like the one Iguodala just signed.
In order to create cap space, Golden State traded away Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Brandon to the Utah Jazz. Because it was a straight salary dump, the Dubs included multiple draft picks, which got the Jazz to bite.
Completing the transaction required for Golden State to renounce their free agents, which means Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry will not be back as members of the Warriors’ organization.
Bringing in Iguodala was thought to enhance the chances Dwight Howard would join him in the Bay, but the big man verbally committed to the Houston Rockets.
With that said, Golden State still got a little better.
The former Denver Nugget is a solid offensive player with good playmaking skills. He is a good ball handler and can even occupy a backup point guard role in a pinch.
Furthermore, he can play big minutes either at the 2-guard or small forward position and thrive. For good measure, when the Warriors opt to go small, he can play at the power forward spot and run other players off the floor.
The Warriors had some success during the 2013 playoffs with Harrison Barnes playing power forward. The lineup of Stephen Curry, Jarrett Jack, Klay Thompson, Andrew Bogut and Barnes played the most minutes of any Golden State five-man unit during the postseason and outscored opponents by 13.6 points per 100 possessions according to NBA.com’s advanced stats tool.
Mark Jackson stumbled into this lineup because David Lee became unavailable due to injury. Indeed, during the 2012-13 regular season, the quintet played a grand total of one minute together.
Heading into 2013-14, it stands to reason Golden State might use the same group on more occasions and substitute Iguodala in for Jack.
Iguodala’s athleticism typically warrants a lot of attention while the rest of his game occasionally goes unnoticed because he doesn’t possess an elite offensive skill. He is an average shooter at best as evidenced by his career 32.9 percent 3-point shooting figure.
In spot-up opportunities in 2012-13, he converted a mere 33.6 percent of his field goals per Synergy Sports. Hence, relying on him for his offense could be quite problematic if he is not properly utilized.
The places where Golden State will use Iguodala in their offense should benefit him greatly. Out in transition, Iguodala is exceptional because he can weave through defenders with his ball handling and then rise and finish at the rim.
This explains his 69.2 percent transition shooting in 2012-13 per Synergy Sports. In addition, Mark Jackson will surely station his new swingman on the opposite side of the court during pick-and-rolls where he can duck in behind defenders for easy catches and finishes at the hoop.
It’s worth noting, Golden State became increasingly comfortable during the 2012-13 campaign with running the 1-3 pick-and-roll with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. It often resulted in defensive switches with a point guard defending Thompson on the block.
Because Iguodala is not a great shooter, Jackson will have to be selective in running this action with the former Philadelphia 76er. The threat of the pick-and-pop simply is not present with Iguodala and consequently defenders will be fine with him catching the ball away from the rim against a smaller defender.
Have a look at this video from a game against the Boston Celtics. The Celtics barely defended him on the perimeter and invited him into taking a tough shot.
Now have a look at this play against the Atlanta Hawks. It’s the only made field goal Iguodala made as a result of the screen-and-roll action in 2012-13 per Synergy Sports. Relegating him to the perimeter on these plays clearly is not the best place to go with him.
Instead, the Dubs can run the action and get him rolling hard towards the hoop where defenders will have trouble preventing his scores. Hoopdata tells us he converted 74.1 percent of his shots at the rim in 2012-13, a figure that’s consistent with the two seasons preceding that one.
Keep in mind, in his last season in Denver, Iguodala only attempted five shots as the roll man in the pick-and-roll. Granted, the switches resulted in him getting a few post-up opportunities where he bullied some smaller players and generated points at the basket.
Between playing off the ball in the half court, running the lanes in transition and occasionally handling the offense, Golden State has a new toy to play with and it should be very entertaining.
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