Fan of the Golden State Warriors or not, you either grinned or saltily grimaced when you heard they signed unrestricted free agent Andre Iguodala to a multi-year deal back in July. As if the Warriors didn't have enough upside seeing young assets Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, and Draymond Green show growth in their six-game playoff defeat to the San Antonio Spurs in the conference semifinals. Adding Iguodala to this mix not only presents a necessary benefit for this Warriors team on both ends of the floor, but makes them one of my favorites in the Western Conference.
Iguodala is a widely recognized defensive specialist and premiere glue guy in the NBA, which is precisely where the Warriors needed a boost from last season's young, emerging roster. Head coach Mark Jackson did experimenting with Harrison Barnes at the stretch-four slot in last year's playoffs, which can also be asked of Iguodala, depending on how "small" or "big" Jackson goes with his line ups. Center Andrew Bogut just signed a three-year extension, and you still have David Lee, so you now have some flexibility in the Warriors' front court. Jackson will be able to use Iguodala at every position except center, and with Stephen Curry healthy, he won't be burdened as the be-all-end-all for the offense, much like he was subjected to in Philadelphia and too often in Denver. If Curry, Bogut, and Lee are healthy come next April, I believe Andre Iguodala is exactly the person to help ascend this Warriors team into legitimate NBA Finals contenders.
- Martin S. @marley_mcfly