Golden State Warriors: What Andre Iguodala Brings To The Table Defensively


Andre Iguodala is one of the NBA’s elite perimeter defenders ( photo)

Andre Iguodala does not have the rings, the awards or a top selling jersey that many people typically associate with the premier players in the NBA.  He is unlikely to single-handedly take over a game, in the fashion that LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony are capable of doing on a nightly basis. He won’t lead the league in scoring or be a perennial All Star, but Iguodala is a hard working, defensive minded player who does exactly what it takes to elevate his team to the next level.

When the Golden State Warriors signed Iguodala to a four-year, $48 million deal during the offseason, they knew precisely what they were paying for.  The Warriors have championship aspirations for the 2013-14 NBA season and he is potentially the missing piece to the championship puzzle.

Let’s take a look at what the Warriors will be getting from Andre Iguodala defensively:

Coming into the 2012-13 season, the Warriors did not have one player who was expected to match up with the top wing players in the NBA. However, Klay Thompson stepped up and showed a lot of improvement from his rookie year and he surprised people by how well he defended some of the most skilled players in the league.  Rookie Draymond Green was also called upon at times, but the Warriors offense struggled when he was on the court, which essentially negated his impact defensively.

Thompson and the rest of the Warriors core of young players will need to continue to make strides on the defensive end of the court in the upcoming season. Having said that, signing a proven veteran ready to take any challenge head on will work wonders for this team. It will ease the pressure on the younger players and allow them to focus on their strengths offensively.

That is where Iguodala will make the biggest difference during the 2013-14 season. As one of the top perimeter defenders in the league, he is tasked with guarding premier guards and forwards for the entire season.  At 6’6’’ with a wingspan of nearly 7 feet, Iguodala’s length and athleticism pesters offensive players. His excellent footwork helps him maintain solid defensive positioning and he often has the awareness to pressure opposing players into help defense.

Take this video for instance:

Iguodala explains to Matt Moore of CBS Sports how his past experiences guarding Anthony have helped him understand his tendencies and that he expected JaVale McGee’s help defense to be right behind him.  What do you know; the help is there and Anthony’s shot attempt is thwarted. Now, envision rim-protector Andrew Bogut behind Iguodala and that makes for an impressive defensive duo that would make it difficult for any offensive player to break down and score points on.

During the 2012-13 season, Iguodala ranked among the league leaders in steals and was an outstanding shot blocker for a swingman. In just one season in Denver, he had a direct impact on the success of the Nuggets, as they finished the season with the 11th-best defense in the league, allowing 102 points per 100 possessions. In previous years, Denver was known solely for their high-paced offense, but that changed once Iguodala came to town.

According to, while Iguodala was on the court, Denver allowed 100.5 points per 100 possessions. If you take that figure over a full season, the Nuggets defensive efficiency would have tied them for seventh-best in the NBA.  On the other hand, in 1,202 minutes with him on the bench, Denver allowed 105.3 points per 100 possessions, which would have placed them in the bottom third of the league defensively.  It is not merely a coincidence that the Nuggets set a franchise record for wins last season by going 57-25 during Iguodala’s only season in Denver.

Golden State ranked 13th in the NBA defensively during the 2012-13 season, which was slightly worse than Denver. Iguodala, a healthy Bogut — who played a big role in the Warriors defeating the Nuggets in the playoffs — and a continuously improving Thompson will likely help to improve the Warriors defensive efficiency during the upcoming season. Do not be surprised if the Warriors are a top 10 defensive team by the end of the year.

One player can’t make all the difference in a team’s success, but they can surely have an impact and that is what Iguodala’s tenacious defense will bring to the Golden State Warriors night in and night out.

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