Moore: Why Andre Iguodala Is Essential For the Warriors in Game 2

Moore: Why Andre Iguodala Is Essential For the Warriors in Game 2 article feature image
Credit:

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Golden State Warriors guard Andre Iguodala (9) against Toronto Raptors during Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

  • The Toronto Raptors are arguably the most talented team the Warriors have faced in the postseason -- especially without Kevin Durant.
  • Matt Moore sees Andre Iguodala as Golden State's X-factor to turn the tide in Game 2.

With the Warriors in a tough series against a team that knew how to score on them and drag their half-court offense down, Andre Iguodala stepped up as he has so many times in the past.  In Golden State’s second-round series vs. the Rockets, Iguodala shot 12-of-25 (48%) from 3-point range, helping the Warriors stay ahead of the Rockets’ offensive attack.

He shot 5-of-8 on 3s in the Warriors’ closeout Game 6 alone. He has not made a 3-pointer since.

Oh-for-11. This is a problem.

Whereas the Blazers were wholly incapable of doing anything to stop the Warriors defensively, the Raptors are assuredly on the opposite end of the spectrum. What’s become most glaring — in stunning fashion — is that the Warriors now have fewer weapons on the floor than their opponent.

With Kevin Durant out, the Warriors’ best lineup is Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Iguodala, Draymond Green, and (insert center of your choice). They can’t get to their “Hamptons 5” lineup because they don’t have enough capable wings.

The problem is that while Green will have an outlier game here and there, he hasn’t shot above 30% from deep since 2017. The center isn’t a shooter, obviously.

And then there’s Iguodala. He was 0-for-4 in Game 1 vs. the Raptors, but the bigger issue is that often times, he didn’t even look to shoot when open. Some of it is driven from a desire to run the Warriors’ plays, but there has to be a little more freedom in the Warriors’ reads.

He is wide open here when Kawhi Leonard collapses down, and Iguodala doesn’t look for it:

Here the defense collapses on Curry, and Iguodala is wide open in the corner. Airball:

The offense was still fine with Iguodala on the floor in Game 1 — it registered a 111.9 offensive rating — but his non-threat status also allowed the Raptors to fully commit to Curry and Thompson, forcing misses and getting out in transition.

The Warriors are unstoppable when they have two shooters next to the Splash Brothers. With one, though, they become like so many teams in the playoffs: mortal and desperate to free up their star players with multiple layers of defense set against them.

Durant changes all this, but until he returns in this series, Golden State is facing its first series since Steve Kerr took over where the other team has more weapons.

Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, Fred VanVleet, even Norman Powell and Serge Ibaka are all credible threats to the Warriors’ defense. If the Raptors can just flat out ignore three players and focus in on Curry and Thompson, that makes things easier on what has already been the best halfcourt defense in the playoffs.

That puts some value on the under for the Warriors’ team total (106.5).

If Iguodala comes into Game 2 and knocks down 3-pointers, that can be the difference in the game. If he doesn’t, however, and someone like Alphonso McKinnie doesn’t step up with a big game, the Warriors will face their first ever 0-2 deficit headed back to Oracle for Game 3.