Andre Iguodala shows why he’s perfect for Warriors in win vs. Pelicans

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Iguodala shows why he’s perfect for Dubs in win vs. Pelicans originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Warriors have been playing well. They were at home, facing an opponent missing its two best players. Stephen Curry was getting over an illness. And there was the ominous development of a 15-point second quarter lead shaved to four at the half.

Such were the circumstances Friday night, and these are the conditions under which Andre Iguodala is most valuable.

A teacher and a facilitator and a stickler, Iguodala is among the best in NBA history at coming off the bench and doing whatever is necessary for his team to perform as it must to assure victory, which in this case was a 126-85 rout of the New Orleans Pelicans at Chase Center.

Iguodala’s purpose was to nourish the spiritual needs of his teammates, who were ripe for a letdown. Everybody likes to score, so their points became his priority.

The result: Six assists in his first 10 minutes, nine in 13 and a total of 10 in 17.

The last member of the Warriors to record as many dimes off the bench? Iguodala, on Dec. 14, 2017.

“When you play with Andre, our offense is very simple,” said Nemanja Bjelica, who finished with 13 points in 18 minutes off the bench.

Shortly after Iguodala entered the game, he recorded the assist on four of five possessions – a dime to Curry, another for Gary Payton II and back-to-back dimes to Otto Porter Jr. for wide-open 3-pointers.

“The game just works when he’s on the floor,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Everything flows. The ball goes to the right person. The right cut is made.”

Many are the reasons the Warriors welcomed Iguodala’s return. There was the sentimental, the return of the favorite son, reuniting with championship teammates Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Curry. The front office and the coaching were united in their belief that Iguodala, 37, would be an active professor for their many young players, six of whom have less than three years of NBA experience.

But they also were convinced he still had game, still had the ability to provide 15-20 minutes of excellence for a team with lofty goals.

Through eight games, seven of which were won by the Warriors, the gamble looks like a winner. Iguodala has been terrific, doing all the things required to summon the best of a team built with a combination of championship vets, new vets, journeymen guys whose ascent to the NBA required years of struggle and youngsters new to professional sports.

“It’s just beautiful to watch when you’ve got a whole group of guys who are connected and the ball is moving and they see the game well together,” Kerr said. “Andre has always been the guy to tie it all together. He’s back to doing that for us these days, which makes our job as a coaching staff way easier.”

There are times when Iguodala acts as WD-40, times when he is human duct tape, times when he is topical ointment and times when it seems he is carrying an invisible needle and thread. No job is beneath him or above him.

“I’m just here having fun,” Iguodala said. “I really don’t have anything to lose. I enjoy being around the guys. I enjoy the atmosphere. I enjoy playing for Steve and just everyone one in the organization.

“I’m having fun and that’s something I’m trying to do all year. Make sure I’m helping young guys get better.”

RELATED: Are 7-1 Warriors good? Steph, Iguodala assess team

Having fun. Mentoring teammates. Making winning plays. Sprinkling the entire roster and coaching staff with good times. The Warriors have been good for Iguodala.

He has been better for the Warriors, as there will be more games like this, and they will feel fortunate to have his presence, providing whatever they need. 



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