Warriors

Warriors

Editor's note: The above video is from Sept. 28, 2015.

In the midst of the ever-brightening spotlight shining upon Steph Curry and the proper appreciation being shown to Draymond Green, another Warrior is quietly, calmly punishing defenses.

Andre Iguodala, who last season came dangerously close to being labeled a “defensive specialist,” is sinking jumpers at a dazzling rate. He has been terrific from midrange and, yes, beyond the arc.

Iguodala is shooting 3-pointers more accurately than the NBA’s more publicized marksmen. His percentage, 48.1, ranks ahead of Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, Indiana’s Paul George and Chicago’s Doug McDermott.

Iguodala ranks ahead of even his teammate Steph Curry, who is raining treys at a rate that laps the rest of the league. Curry ranks seventh, at 45.9 percent.

The only man shooting 3-pointers better is San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, who is at 50.0 percent.

It’s as if Iguodala somehow exorcised the guy who elicited groans from the Oracle Arena crowd each time he pulled up for a jump shot.

Iguodala, who turns 32 in January, credits his teammates, coaches and his summertime trip to Germany, where he received injections to both knees to mitigate the chronic knee soreness. His legs have regained much of their old bounce.

“That has a lot to do with it,” he said of the treatments. “It’s just being fresher. Nothing is nagging. As you get older, it’s always something. You never just feel really good. As the season goes on, something’s coming up. So you have to make sure you’re staying on top of it. The minutes help as well.”

 

Iguodala is averaging 27.4 minutes per game, roughly eight minutes below his career average. Yet the coaching staff sometimes has to resist the temptation to keep him on the floor a few minutes longer each game.

That’s because Iguodala has been no less than the third-most significant player on the Warriors, behind Curry and Green. He’s not only defending and shooting well but also running the second unit offense. Iguodala’s 3.26 assists-per-turnover ratio is third in the league.

“He’s fairly essential to so much of what we do,” said assistant coach Ron Adams recently told CSNBayArea.com.

Insofar as Adams is noted defensive specialist – and the man NBA general managers consider the top assistant coach in the league – it’s logical to believe he was referring to Iguodala’s defensive impact. He was, to a degree, because it’s considerable.

But Iguodala’s offense has been every bit as marvelous.

Iguodala’s previous career-high for 3-point shooting a single season is 39.4 percent (in 2011-12) and his career average entering this season was 33.3. His adjusted field-goal percentage, 65.3, is slightly ahead of Curry, who ranks second at 65.0.

“It’s an added dimension,” interim coach Luke Walton recently said of Iguodala’s improved shot. “Him and Draymond are in the same boat with that. They do so much for our team to win that they could go 0-for-whatever and still help the team win.”

When the Warriors resort to their Piranha Squad – their most effective lineup – it’s four starters playing with Iguodala, with center Andrew Bogut the odd man out.

“I feel safer when he’s on the court,” Walton said of Iguodala.

Iguodala’s efficient offense this season has been a subplot, much lower in visibility than the exploits of Curry and Green.

But when Iguodala is shooting it as he has been, the Warriors are almost impossible to beat. His season goes a long way toward explaining how the Warriors reached their 20-0 record.