Andre Iguodala, the MVP of the 2015 NBA Finals, shook off his past glory in a that was so last year way, and left his footprints on the first game of the championship series.
One year later, he was, as Steve Kerr put it, “the adult in the room.” One year later, he was pissed at a smack to the groin. But before the Delly man violation, Iggy stopped LeBron James every time he wanted to do something special. He stripped the ball twice. He didn’t foul. He scored some baskets. He talked some trash to Delly. His defensive presence on the wing is why the Warriors beat the Cavs last year and it’s why they beat the Cavs in game one.
Andre Iguodala has a hard core defensive identity. He wants to stop offensive talent from being the player of the game. What he can do on offense himself is just icing on the cake. If it is true that every team needs a scorer and every team needs a rebounder and every team needs a wing athlete and every team needs a crazy guy to keep everyone awake, every team also needs an Andre Iguodala.
He answers all the questions.
Will you sacrifice? Yes. Will you defend the best player happily? Yes. Will you take less to get more? Yes. Will you lead by your veteran presence and still absorb the craziness of a young team? Yes. Will you establish your credentials in a game that matters more than any other game? Double yes. Will you make a cheap shot work for you in the long run? Yes.
Iguodala, an Illinois native, wasn’t just an athlete in high school but an academic standout. He is one of the smartest players Steve Kerr has been around, according to the Warriors coach. Iguodala brushes that kind of talk off and looks at it more as Kerr greasing the wheel and trying to give Iggy a little bit of love considering what Iguodala has sacrificed as far as minutes on this guard dominant Warriors team.
And yet that sacrifice goes out the window when it’s NBA Finals time. Of all the Warriors players, the one most ready to make an impact is Andre Iguodala. And he has the most to do. Stop LeBron James. Hit open shots. Keep the ball moving. Rebound. Outside of Draymond Green, no one is asked to do more.
On Twitter last night, the summary was pretty harsh for the Cavs. They lost to Igoudala, Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbosa, all subs. But that hardly explains what happened in the 3rd quarter with Matthew Dellavedova, a dirty player or a hard nosed player, all in the middle of chaos he created.
Delly hit Iggy in the groin. Iguodala reacted like you expected he would. And then the Warriors went on a 13-2 run. Iguodala caused the Warriors to, as Barbosa put it, “lock in”
According to his teammates, Iggy went to the huddle and said Delly smacked him. Iggy then shook it off. He hit a three. And the rout was just beginning.
“I respect a lot of guys hustles in this league. We have got guys who have to get a little dirty and physical to make a life to feed their family. For me, it’s about keeping my composure. There are times for me to get fired up and the situation that happened got me all fired up.”
photo via llananba