Warriors

Exclusive: Warriors' Andre Iguodala says 'I’m going to be done soon' in NBA

Exclusive: Warriors' Andre Iguodala says 'I’m going to be done soon' in NBA

OAKLAND – Andre Iguodala is counting down the remaining years of his NBA career. No need to count the days or weeks, because others have been doing that since, oh, about 2015.

“I’m going to be done soon,” he told NBC Sports Bay Area this week. “I could probably play a legit five more years, but I’ll probably max out at three more after this year – maybe three more.

“But if I’m not here, that will weigh heavily on what I will do. I possibly have another year here – if we win. That’s it. I know that. I’m fine with it.”

Possibly? Reminded that he is under contract for the 2019-20 season, at 17.2 million, the final year of the three-year, $48 million deal he signed in July 2017, Iguodala waves it off.

“That’s if we win,” he said. “If not . . .”

Iguodala is in his 14th NBA season. He is the oldest Warrior, two months from turning 35. This is his fifth season out of the starting lineup and the third during which his minutes will be monitored by the training staff. He has reached the career stage when NBA players begin wondering about their athletic mortality, leading to the questions most would prefer to dodge.

How much longer can I do it? Am I still making an impact? Do talent evaluators believe in me? Does my team appreciate me?

The Warriors appreciate Iguodala. His intellect and chameleon-like ability to adapt to circumstance and devote his energy to what the team needs at that moment have endeared him to coach Steve Kerr. His teammates marvel about Iguodala’s value being beyond the quantifiable. Don’t look at the numbers, they say. Watch the game.

[RELATED: Andre Iguodala explains why he likes but doesn't enjoy playing in NBA]

It’s certainly true that no member of the Warriors is subjected to more debate about his significance. Some believe he’s overpaid; his salary ranks fourth among players that opened the season as reserves. Others are convinced he’s well worth the money as long as the championships keep coming.

“Perception can become reality for people in the position of filing out rosters, like GMs,” Iguodala said. “Sometimes, perception is their reality, even when it’s wrong. It could mess up someone’s perception of you, what they think of you as a player. They say, ‘Oh, he is done.’ That is really hard. I don’t really worry about it.

“But at the same time, it is a thing. I know it’s out there. But at this point, I know I’m still pretty good. I really believe that. But if people don’t know that, I’ll just be like, ‘OK, I’m done playing.’ ”

If it seems Iguodala has something to prove – or believes he has something to prove – it’s because that’s his nature. He’s a watcher and listener. He can’t ignore the noise because he needs to be prepared for anything. As much as he may want to silence skeptics, he realizes stepping out of character would disrupt the balance of the most successful NBA team since the Lakers of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.

For the Warriors to prosper, they need Iguodala to do handle details both complex and obscure, particularly in big moments.

[RELATED: Andre Iguodala references Kobe-Shaq when asked about Draymond-Durant]

“It’s all about that balance,” he said. “Sometimes, I have to be the guy that says, ‘OK, we’ve got to play the right way.’ If that means I’ve got to pass up some shots to make sure everybody else is in the right flow, has the right mindset and is getting their touches, so be it – as long as I know that’s going to help us in the long run.”

Iguodala has started the past seven games, the first three at point guard and the last four at small forward. Few players in the league are asked to handle both duties in a season, much less in the same week. It’s an assignment he accepts because, well, now it’s working.

He also knows this is temporary, that he may return to the bench when Stephen Curry returns, likely this week, and certainly will go back to his Sixth Man role when Draymond Green returns, likely next week.

“We will still have to get back to finding our comfort zone within different roles,” Iguodala said. “A lot of guys on the second unit have been very aggressive, and we needed that. But with me going back to the second unit, I’ll have to be aggressive. Being in the starting lineup, I kind of tailored it back.

“It’s kind of like I’m itching to go back to the second unit.”

Why? Because that means the Warriors as projected will be intact. Iguodala can get back into his routine, coming off the bench to add the missing ingredient while wondering how many minutes he has before his career clock hits zeroes.

D'Angelo Russell's potential on display in Warriors' preseason finale

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USATSI

D'Angelo Russell's potential on display in Warriors' preseason finale

SAN FRANCISCO – The wait for D’Angelo Russell to start raising his game is over. He’s coming.

If he brings it in the regular season as he did in the preseason finale Friday night, and continues to build on it, the Warriors will sing his praises and jersey sales will spike during the holidays.

“He’s just such a skilled player that no matter what happens, he’s just going to find his way to 20-plus points,” coach Steve Kerr said after a 124-103 win over a Lakers B-squad team at Chase Center. “He’s a tremendous passer, so putting him into high screens and letting him pick people apart and he’s going to find a flow.

“One thing I really like about him is that he doesn’t get discouraged. He just plays. After the slow start, he really picked it up. He was fantastic.”

Russell shot well, scoring 29 points in 28 minutes on 9-of-19 shooting from the field, including 6-of-11 from deep, and 5-of-6 from the line. He also passed nicely, recording three assists and at least as many secondary assists. He could’ve had more dimes if not for the Lakers reaching to foul shooters found open by Russell.

The real revelation, however, was on the other end of the court. Unlike more than a few moments in the previous four games, Russell was more consistent with his defensive energy and purpose. During one 19-second span early in the fourth quarter, he swiped a Zach Norvell pass and raced in for a layup and also picked up a loose ball off a Draymond Green deflection and pulled up for a triple that cranked up the noise in the building.

Russell's ability to turn defense into offense is one of his more valuable traits, and something that may be an essential component of the Warriors’ attack.

“I just made shots,” Russell said. “There’s a lot of things on the defensive end that I want to get better at, just figuring out the coverages that we’re playing and getting accustomed to those things. It’s easy to make shots in this league. It’s more about doing other things.”

What’s apparent is Russell’s growing comfort on the court. He’s in a new city, with new teammates, many of them young. There were in the first few games far too much confusion on defense and hesitation on offense. All of that is starting to fade.

And much of that stems from the growing partnership between Russell and fellow guard Stephen Curry.

“It’s an opportunity to get to know each other but see the potential of what we can be when we are out there on the floor,” Curry said. “When we’re on the floor together, there is a lot of trust in terms of making the right play, taking advantage of each possession.”

Even with such an encouraging performance, Russell still sees the holes. The areas that need to improve before he can approach All-Star status for the second consecutive season.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do, to be honest,” he said. “We’re still figuring each other out. In preseason you make it what it is, for a lot of teams. A lot of teams are set and they know what they’re going to do.

“For us, we need that time to build in the good things and work on the things we didn’t do so well.”

For the Warriors to be a factor in the Western Conference, the Curry-Russell backcourt has to be among the best in the league. Offensively, that’s a given. Defensively, that’s a mystery.

But it has to at least be respectable.

“I’m optimistic that we will get off to a hot start,” Curry said. “If we do run into some road bumps throughout the season, we will build a level of communication that we can adjust as we go.”

[RELATED: Russell eyes superteam with Booker, KAT]

On this night, D-Lo showed that his offense will be there. He also, at times, showed he is capable of being the defender he’ll need to be for the Warriors to get anywhere near 50 wins.

Is he all the way there yet, particularly on defense? No. But he’s much closer than he was two weeks ago. Close enough to glimpse where he has to be.

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 124-103 preseason win vs. Lakers

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 124-103 preseason win vs. Lakers

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Warriors ended their preseason slate with a bang, beating the Los Angeles Lakers 124-103 at Chase Center on Friday night. 

However, the victory didn't come with much star power. While the Warriors played their healthy starters, Los Angeles rested most of their veteran core, including LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard.  

With the win, Golden State finishes preseason play 2-3 and face a myriad of questions, particularly in the frontcourt. 

For now, let's get to the takeaways from Friday's win. 

Curry and Russell shine

After struggling for much of the preseason, D'Angelo Russell played well, finishing with 29 points, three rebounds and three assists, including six 3-pointers. 

Meanwhile, Stephen Curry poured in 32 points, including a four-point play in the fourth quarter. Occasionally this past summer, the two All-Stars trained in Golden State's old Oakland facility hoping to get the chemistry they displayed Friday evening. 

However, playing alongside Curry within Golden State's motion offense, Russell admittedly struggled through the team's first four games. He has All-Star talent and should find his rhythm during the regular season, especially with the spacing Curry provides.  

Rest of the Starters in dress rehearsal 

Playing as close to a regular-season rotation as possible, the Warriors starting lineup quickly found themselves down double digits. Through the first six minutes, the depleted Lakers built a 14-point lead. 

Marquese Chriss -- who effectively made the roster Friday -- air-balled his first attempt of the night, later committing an offensive foul. For good measure, Draymond Green earned a technical foul midway through the third quarter. 

With the season just under a week away, Golden State is a world away from last year's star-studded roster. Worse, injuries to Kevon Looney and Willie Cauley-Stein might linger into opening night. If Monday's performance against an undermanned Lakers team is any indication, the Warriors could be in trouble. 

Youngsters provide a boost

While Curry and Russell combined for 61 points, the Warriors' young core showed signs of life as well. With four minutes left in the first quarter, a lineup featuring Jacob Evans, Jordan Poole, Curry and Omari Spellman helped Golden State cut the Lakers' lead to one heading into the second quarter.

[RELATED: Robinson to start on opening night]

Poole -- who struggled his last two games in Los Angeles -- scored eight points, including two 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Eric Paschall added 11 points and seven rebounds. 

With a new roster, Golden State's young core will be counted on more than past years, meaning performances like Friday will have to be a regular occurrence.