SAN FRANCISCO – It didn’t take long for Andre Iguodala to reclaim his authority in the Warriors locker room and also his significance within the sphere of the franchise.
He’s here to do as he did during his first run with the Warriors, from 2013 to 2019. He is spackle on the court, filling any cracks that pose a danger while also serving as the team sage for matters off the court.
“With Andre, it goes so far beyond points and scoring, and even what you see defensively,” coach Steve Kerr said Monday. “It’s about the leadership, the being in the right spot at the right time.
“Given the goal of what we’re trying to do with the development of young players, I can’t think of a better player to have on our team who can help us do both.”
At 37, Iguodala is the team’s senior citizen by more than four years. He’s literally old enough to be the father of both rookie forwards, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, as well as second-year center James Wiseman.
“It feels a little weird because it’s somebody I used to watch on TV,” Kuminga said, releasing a chuckle. “And now, him next to my locker and talking to him every day as a friend, as a teammate, as an older brother, it’s crazy. But I feel like I’m enjoying the moment that he still around.”
Iguodala did much the same for some of the younger players that came to the Warriors during his first tour. He counseled Patrick McCaw, stayed in the ear of Jacob Evans III and laid out the nutritional plan that Kevon Looney credits for boosting his career.
The savvy veteran wing proved in Miami last season that even as his shooting efficiency dips, he’s still capable of getting key defensive stops, snatching timely steals and making pivotal passes. But he also professorial enough to dispense wisdom that transcends the game.
“He's a guy that's been through it all in the NBA,” Moody said. “So, especially a guy if a guy of his stature is in the perfect position to teach me as a young guy whatever I need, whatever I need to know.”
Though he’s on a one-year veteran’s minimum contract – he says he’s uncertain about his plans beyond this season – Iguodala serves a role for both coaches and teammates. He is more accurately described as a utility asset than a utility player.
And it’s needed. At age 33, Stephen Curry is the team’s full-time superstar, the franchise exemplar, putting in long hours but available upon request. Green, who had an excused absence on media day, is equal parts taskmaster and, if you hear him out, logical confidence booster. Klay Thompson is deep into therapy, working his way back to NBA conditioning, but there for teammates who need the mental break that comes with filling the role on deck hand on his boat.
They all do some leading, but Iguodala is willing to get expansive in the role.
“After my workout, I usually just sit down and watch what they’re doing,” Kuminga said of his routine studying the veterans. “I see their preparation. Iguodala, especially, because he’s right next to my locker. So, I’ve been asking him questions, not just about basketball but pretty much about everything. I’m getting a lot of knowledge from him.”
The Warriors will hold their first workout on Tuesday morning. It will be light on sweat, but heavy on concepts and goals, with detail. Much of what the coaches have to say will sound familiar to the youngsters.
Because they’ve already heard it.