The Golden State Warriors have yet to see veteran Andre Iguodala take the court this season, and one insider suggests they may wait a little while longer for his season debut.
The Warriors held open a roster spot this summer while Iguodala was deciding whether to retire or return for his 19th NBA season. He ultimately decided to come back and help the Warriors defend their title, but an ailing hip has kept him out of action so far this year.
Iguodala took a small step forward this week, practicing on January 2 with the G League Santa Cruz Warriors, but Brett Siegel of SI.com believes the Warriors may decide to take a slow approach in bringing Iguodala back.
No Return Date for Andre Iguodala
As Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area reported on Twitter, Iguodala’s return to practice has not brought any more clarity on when he could play in the NBA.
“Andre Iguodala lives on. Scrimmaged with G League Warriors today, per coach Steve Kerr. Still no timetable for his debut this season,” Poole reported.
SI.com’s Siegel suggested that the Warriors could keep Iguodala out until the final stretch of the season and playoffs, when his veteran leadership would have the most impact.
“It is not surprising to see the Warriors holding Iguodala out, especially since this is very likely his final NBA season,” Siegel wrote, adding that the veteran is still playing an important role off the court as a mentor to the team’s younger players.
“On the floor though, Andre Iguodala can still be a valuable asset given his high IQ, passing abilities and defensive instincts, which is why having him healthy for late in the season and in the playoffs is key for this franchise.”
The Warriors had Iguodala in the lineup throughout the last season, but he was sidelined by a series of injuries and ailments and limited to just 31 games in the regular season. Iguodala was hurt on and off throughout the playoffs as well, appearing in just seven games total and three of the six games in the NBA Finals.
Steve Kerr Shared Plan for Iguodala’s Season
The Warriors may already be bought into the idea of holding Iguodala out for longer. On December 3, head coach Steve Kerr shared that the team had no plans to rush the veteran through his rehab, adding that his presence was most important in the later half of the year.
“We’re more interested in him being healthy in the second half of the season,” Kerr said earlier this month, via CBS Sports. “So we’re not going to throw him out there yet.”
The Warriors’ recent run of success could also alleviate some pressure for Iguodala to return. Despite losing Steph Curry to a shoulder injury in a December 14 loss to the Indiana Pacers, the Warriors have gone 6-3 in that time including a current five-game winning streak. The Warriors have moved up to ninth in a tightly packed Western Conference, but are just two games out of third place.