The competition between the Rockets and Warriors this season actually started in the summer, when the bidding war started for Andre Iguodala’s services. In the end the Warriors won the prize, though there are reports that it came down to the wire in the end. The winning bid ended up being a three-year deal for $48 million, which was a lot more than many expected going into the offseason (including the Warriors themselves).
After the deal was signed there was a common consensus that the deal and his value would be worth it come playoff time. Many assumed that he would coast through the regular season until then. However, once the season started, and Iguodala did exactly that, it was many of those same people that turned on their own original assumptions and now assumed the worst. The critics started circling like vultures over Iguodala, deciding he had been overpaid and now did not care anymore, that he aged considerably over one offseason and now was just a high-priced spotty bench player that couldn’t hit a three or defend consistently.
Yet to some fans, media, Warriors executives, players and especially Igudodala himself, it was expected with great confidence he would turn it on come April. He missed six of the last seven games of the regular season, but despite that health scare, he was going to be ready to go come playoffs. And he has not disappointed.
Through the first two games of the first round, Iguodala has gone a combined 5-for-7 from deep, and also added 14 rebounds and nine assists. Last season, it took Iguodala 14 games into the playoffs (he played in 13 of them) to finally hit his fifth shot from long range. So the question is: has Iguodala consistently shown in his tenure as a Warrior that he is a new player come playoffs?
In his first year with the Warriors in the 2013-14 season (Mark Jackson’s last year as the head coach) Iguodala played well in the seven game opening round series that the Warriors lost to the Clippers. He finished the seven games averaging 13.1 points on 52 percent shooting from the field and 53 percent shooting from distance, while most importantly playing his elite level defense.
The following season, under Steve Kerr, Iguodala then made the well documented move to the bench as the Warriors’ sixth man. That was also the postseason were the Warriors famously inserted Iguodala into the starting lineup once they were trailing in the Finals, and he went on to capture Finals MVP with his exceptional performance and defense on LeBron James. In total, he finished those playoffs averaging 10.4 points on 47 percent shooting from the field and 35 percent from deep over 21 playoff games. But it was in the Finals that he made his biggest impact statistically, dropping 16.3 points per game on 52 percent overall shooting and a 40 percent clip from three point range.
Yet again, despite losing in the quite controversial Finals series to the Cavaliers, Iguodala performed admirably in the playoffs during the 2015-16 season. He finished the 24 total games averaging nine points per game on 48 percent shooting from the field and 39 percent from deep. These averages were very similar to his regular season numbers of seven points per game, 48 percent field goal percentage and 35 percent on threes.
Finally we come to last season, which was a bit of an aberration statistically for Iguodala since joining the Warriors. He missed his first 18 shots from deep to start the playoffs, and eventually by game 13 of the postseason, he was hitting a measly 3 of 27 shots from long range. He would go on to finish shooting 19 percent from three point range when all was said and done, but his overall 46 percent shooting from the field and his three-to-one assist to turnover ratio was much needed for a Warriors team that dealt with some injuries early on.
Despite this extensive breakdown of Iguodala’s statistics throughout his Warriors playoff career, his true value is not seen in the traditional box score. Iguodala has proven to be a performer that needs to be critiqued qualitatively rather than quantitatively. His defense, leadership, energy and overall basketball I.Q. have been invaluable to the Warriors during his tenure with the team. He is already off to a hot start this postseason, but you should expect nothing less than Playoff Iguodala.