Andre Iguodala’s versatility, both on and off the court, is epitomized in Steve Kerr’s fondest memory of the recently retired forward, whom he coached for seven seasons. It’s a memory that transcends basketball.
Back in the 2014-15 season, just moments before Iguodala was named NBA Finals MVP as the Golden State Warriors clinched their first championship of the dynasty, he snatched the ball, rushed to Kerr, and exclaimed, “We’re going to Augusta!” An ardent golfer, Iguodala had been promised that if the Warriors secured the title, he could play on the same course where The Masters is held.
Some march to their own rhythm, but Iguodala marches to the resonating strums of an electric mandolin.
Hours after Iguodala officially declared his retirement, Kerr showered the 19-year veteran with heartfelt praise. Kerr unequivocally credited Iguodala for kickstarting the Warriors’ run of four titles in eight seasons.
It’s not only Iguodala’s outstanding play that still echoes in Kerr’s heart but also his selfless sacrifice in his second season with Golden State. After starting every game the previous season under Mark Jackson, Iguodala willingly accepted a role coming off the bench, just three years removed from being named an All-Star with the 76ers.
Kerr spoke highly of Iguodala ahead of the Warriors’ preseason finale against the Spurs on Friday, saying, “He was a cornerstone of what has been one of the most remarkable runs in NBA history. In many ways, Andre set the tone for the whole journey by agreeing to come off the bench in 2014-15 — a sacrifice that unlocked the team, allowed Harrison [Barnes] to thrive, strengthened our bench, and fostered a culture of selflessness and team-first mentality.”
Iguodala’s willingness to embrace his role provided Kerr with a stabilizing presence in the second unit. He was a willing passer, a versatile defender capable of guarding any opponent, and a “babysitter” who understood that getting the ball into the hands of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson was the team’s best chance to win.
Kerr continued, “You look at the type of player [Iguodala] was. Incredibly intelligent, with an exceptional sense at both ends of the court. He was always a step ahead of everyone else, an elite defender, and the perfect complement to our group because he could create opportunities for Steph and Klay and cover up defensively when we made errors. Andre was truly exceptional.”
Although Iguodala hasn’t been around the team much this season, Kerr believes the 2023-24 version of the Golden State Warriors would do well to take a page from his story. When Draymond Green returns from an ankle injury, either he, Chris Paul, or Kevon Looney will likely come off the bench.
Looney is the straightforward choice, a selfless player willing to do whatever is asked of him. However, Kerr has consistently expressed a preference for starting Looney to establish a defensive identity. Going small with Paul, Curry, Thompson, Green, and Andrew Wiggins appears to move in the opposite direction.
So, if it comes down to either Paul or Green accepting a bench role, Iguodala’s example would be the perfect precedent. He still logged close to starter minutes and was even inserted into the first unit during the 2015 Finals against the Cavs, primarily to defend LeBron James, a move that played a significant role in earning him that Finals MVP.