Over the course of the NBA season, a highly utilized player will get a game off now and then for “load management.” One Golden State Warriors veteran has a slightly different excuse for earning himself a night out of the lineup.
This offseason, the Warriors brought back Andre Iguodala to reunite with friend Steph Curry and give a boost to their second unit. While he brings some veteran leadership to a team with a new infusion of youth, Iguodala also apparently has some limitations due to his relatively advanced age.
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Iguodala Hits the Bench
In the second preseason game for the Warriors, Iguodala was out of the lineup and watching his teammates as they took down the Denver Nuggets 118-116. Asked why the 37-year-old was not playing for the team, head coach Steve Kerr had a blunt answer.
“He’s just old,” Kerr replied, via Jason Dumas.
It’s likely that Iguodala sees much more of the floor during the regular season. As Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area noted, the former NBA Finals MVP is expected to play an important role in Golden State’s lineup this season. Andrew noted that Kerr has already singled out Iguodala for his strong play on the court.
“Andre was just really brilliant in the scrimmage,” Kerr said earlier in the week. “It’s so great to have him back for so many reasons, but he really stood out.”
Andrews added that Iguodala can help move along the team’s young players, lottery picks Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody along with second-year center James Wiseman.
“One of the many reasons it’s good to have Iguodala back is his IQ,” Andrews wrote. “His ability to read defenses and act as a point guard or floor general is exactly what the Warriors need in a veteran player.
“If Iguodala’s body can take the load, having him as a key part of the rotation will beef up the Warriors’ depth immensely.”
Decisions for Warriors
There could be another motive for Kerr sitting Iguodala besides his age. The Warriors still have an open roster spot and brought in several players to compete for it, with the preseason games serving as an important testing ground. The team brought in Langston Galloway, Avery Bradley, and Gary Payton II to compete with incumbent spot-holder Mychal Mulder.
As John Hollinger of The Athletic noted, the Warriors seem likely to pick none of those players, leaving the roster spot open just as they did after last year’s trade deadline. Mulder is eligible to return on a two-day deal if he clears waivers, and Hollinger suggests that this could be the most likely outcome.
Hollinger predicts that Iguodala will hold down a spot with the second unit for the Warrior, calling him a “cagey vet no longer threatening offensively” but still a strong defender. Iguodala flashed some of that ability in the team’s first preseason game, a 121-107 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Oct. 4. He turned in a solid defensive effort, grabbing six rebounds and scoring two points in 14 minutes of action.