SAN ANTONIO — Andre Iguodala has had his fingerprints all over the first half of the season despite not playing until Game 40 earlier this month.
He’s pulled players aside countless times during games to correct their mistakes, offer guidance and help build up their confidence. One notable example is the way he helped Jonathan Kuminga get through a rough patch at the start of the season where the 20-year-old was out of the rotation before earning his spot by locking in on the defensive end of the ball.
But the Warriors knew once Iguodala was ready to play that he could still contribute at a high level as long as he stayed healthy.
And that’s been the case through his first three games of the season. Sure, Iguodala had some dust to brush off after not playing an NBA game in seven months. But he made his presence known, especially in Friday’s 144-113 rout over the San Antonio Spurs.
Part of what makes Iguodala so valuable is his ability to fit seamlessly wherever he’s needed. And right now, the greatest need is having him help shore up the frontcourt depth which has thinned over the last month due to injuries to Kuminga, James Wiseman and JaMychal Green.
Iguodala has been the first player on the bench for the Warriors in the last three games, subbing in for Kevon Looney.
“Right now, he’s our third big,” Kerr said Friday night after the Warriors thrashed the Spurs in front of a record-setting crowd of 68,323 at the Alamodome. “I don’t know that that will continue to be the rotation pattern. We like to have Loon or Draymond [Green] on the floor at all times. So Andre is coming in for Loon early, play the four with Draymond at the five. Then Loon comes back for Draymond and Andre stays in that lineup and plays with Loon.”
Iguodala knocked down a 3 to keep the Spurs defense honest in the first quarter. Later in the fourth, Iguodala soared to the basket for his second dunk since his season debut Jan. 7 — not bad for a guy who’s turning 39 in two weeks.
Iguodala’s impact often doesn’t show in the box score, but he makes his presence known every time he steps on the court.
“He’s playing well, he’s moving well,” Draymond Green said. “Obviously, he’s always one of the smartest guys if not the smartest guy on the floor so it makes it easier on the floor when you have the chance to play with Andre.”
The Warriors outscored the Spurs by 12 when Iguodala checked in for his six-minute spurt in the third quarter. During that span, Iguodala blocked Jeremy Sochan’s shot and grabbed two rebounds.
“He just knows how to play basketball and when we’re in sync, he’s always in the right spot moving the ball,” Curry said. His “defensive presence is huge, you can fit pretty much any four guys around him and we can play a high level of basketball.”
Green weighs future
Draymond Green got real this week about his future with the Warriors.
In a recent interview with Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks, Green admitted a day would come where he’s not playing for the Warriors.
“The writing’s on the wall,” the four-time NBA champion said.
Green discussed several other topics throughout the interview, including how his preseason punch of Jordan Poole altered their once brotherly-like relationship. But when it comes to his future with the team that took a chance on him, picking him in the second round of the 2012 NBA draft out of Michigan State, Green said he understands the business of the league.
Of course, he said he would “love” to end his career with the Warriors, but their massive luxury tax bill makes it nearly impossible for them to continue to dish out even money.
“We tend to get into this someone owes us something because of what we’ve accomplished. You’d be an idiot to walk around feeling that way,” Green said. “I feel like you’re just setting yourself up for failure, you’re setting yourself up for heartbreak, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
“I understand the luxury tax, I understand you’ve got these young guys and contractus up and they have to be paid, I understand all those things and so just for me that’s what I mean by the writing’s on the wall.”
Green has a player option for next season worth $27.6 million. That means, barring a trade, he could have at least one last season with the Warriors if he decides to opt in. If not, he could be an unrestricted free agent as soon as next summer.