Andre Iguodala was a key part of the five-year run to the NBA Finals for the Golden State Warriors and beloved by fans during that tenure, so when the 18-year veteran had the chance to return to the Bay Area after a two-year hiatus, he jumped at the chance.
Iguodala opened up this week about his decision to sign with Golden State last offseason, speaking with teammate and friend Draymond Green about his decision to come back to the Warriors after two seasons with the Miami Heat. Iguodala also spoke about the very different atmosphere in Miami and how he hopes to bring some of what he learned back to the Warriors.
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Iguodala’s Return to the Bay
Speaking to Iguodala for a segment of The Draymond Green Show that aired this week, Green asked his teammate why he decided to come back. Iguodala said that after two years in the rigid environment that executive Pat Riley fostered in the organization, he was ready to return to the more easy-going atmosphere in Golden State.
“I think it was a really good experience seeing something on the other end of the spectrum and seeing how you can have success on both sides,” Iguodala said, adding that the environment with the Warriors “is a little more lax, it’s got some hippie vibes to it.”
Iguodala said he saw both the benefits and drawbacks from the contrasting styles, and wanted to bring some of the positives of the Miami model to Golden State. But Iguodala also admitted that he wasn’t sure if he would make it to his 18th season in the NBA, though by the conclusion of last season knew that he had enough in the tank to keep playing.
Feeling good about his game, Iguodala said he wanted to come back to the close friendships he fostered on the Warriors. He has remained close with Green and is a regular golf partner for Steph Curry, which helped make an easier decision when it came time for the free agent to sign with a new team.
“I didn’t know my body was going to feel as good as it did at the end of last year, I thought maybe that might be it,” Iguodala told Green. “You never know when the end is coming, but the body reacted better than I thought, and it would be a beautiful thing to go back and play with my brothers.”
Iguodala Making Strong Contributions
Iguodala has returned to a significant role with the Warriors this season, becoming a mainstay of the second unit. He is averaging 3.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 20.8 minutes per game, though his contributions stretch beyond the floor. The Warriors have an infusion of youth this season with lottery picks Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody along with second-year center James Wiseman, and Iguodala brings veteran leadership and a respected locker room presence.
Warriors general manager said in a November 3 interview that Iguodala’s work ethic can serve as a model for the team’s budding young stars.
“He fits right back in seamlessly,” Myers told NBA.com. “I’m amazed on how he takes care of himself. He’s a good model for younger players to emulate as far as how he takes care of his body, how he takes care of his mind and how he keeps stimulated off the court. He’s a really good model for how to approach an NBA career.”