The Lakers might get Andre Iguodala to add to LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but why does Iggy make them so good?
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Yes, as of right now, Iggy is still on the Memphis Grizzlies, but he could get bought out, which would allow the Lakers to claim him off the waivers. There’s a lot of belief that Iguodala would make the Lakers the clear favorites to win the championship, even over the Clippers, so I wanted to break down all this.
Iguodala is statistically coming off his worst season in his career, averaging 5.7 points, 3.2 assists, and 3.7 rebounds coming off the bench on a stacked Warriors team for 23.2 minutes a game. Keep in mind that Andre is 35 years old, but his value doesn’t come through basic stats. That has become the embodiment of Iguodala, selflessness. A guy that will do whatever it takes for the team to win. But just having that mentality isn’t enough. You need to be able to actually act on that and for that you need to have skill. Iguodala has two main weapons that allows him to be a player you can just plug in with other players on offense and defense. It’s his hand-eye coordination and IQ. Iguodala has to have some of the best hand reflexes in the NBA. He can both any offensive player with his hands as he constantly adjusts them in the right position. Yes, that allows him to swipe the ball away and go for steals on the defensive end as he made clear against Damian Lillard. That defensive versatility won’t necessarily show up in your important stats, but it shows up in the playoffs when he’s tasked to guard the best players on the other team. When guarding Kawhi for 34.5 possessions in the finals, Iggy held him to 37.5% shooting from the field. While guarding Harden, Harden gave up the ball 28% more than his normal. Those are some of the best offensive players in the league and Iggy is bothering them. While that may be what we remember about Iggy, those quick reflexes are also used on the offensive end. A lot of times, Iguodala makes the hockey pass or a touch pass right after receiving a pass. It’s also why he can handle the ball and typically react to the defense’s openings in a snap. But a lot of what Iguodala does is IQ based. He has an understanding of court positioning and where he needs to be on the court to best help his teammates be the most effective. The original death lineup in 2015-2016 was Curry, Klay, Barnes, Iguodala, and Green. There’s playoffs Iguodala.
In 2018, Iguodala had the highest plus and minus in the playoffs out of all the Warriors including Durant and Curry. Iguodala just plays better in the playoffs, he’s counted on more and as we saw in Game 2 of the NBA Finals when Iggy hit the shot.
Not every player is a fit everywhere and Iguodala was also surrounded by some of the best shooters of all times. So now knowing all of this, knowing that Iguodala is selfless, that he improves in the playoffs, how does he fit with the Lakers. Well for one, Iggy would come off the bench. He could be playing anywhere from the shooting guard to the power forward depending on who he’s in with, providing a different skillset at each position. For one, it gives the Lakers another perimeter defensive stopper besides Avery Bradley. Danny Green is also a good defender and Anthony Davis is one of the best interior defenders, but apart from that, the Lakers seem to have defensive liabilities in LeBron unless he changes that, Kyle Kuzma, Boogie who needs to regain his lateral movement. The Lakers have the oldest roster in the NBA right now and so playing on both offense and defense simply may not be possible. With LeBron playing point, Iguodala can guard the point guard letting LeBron take more of a breather defensively. But what the Lakers desperately need and the reason why LeBron is forced to be point guard are ball handlers and playmakers. Now ball handling isn’t just being able to dribble because everyone in the NBA can do that, ball handlers have to be able to bring the ball up with tight defense around them, start plays from the top of the key or call new ones based off the defense, and simply give a different look. Iggy can do that in spades. He knows how to run the pick and roll which plays to the strength of a guy like Anthony Davis. Also remember that Iguodala played with both Javale McGee and Cousins.
The last and probably the most important thing Iggy brings this team is championship experience. Yes he’s super versatile, but specifically it’s his ball handling ability and individual defensive presence that the Lakers need to really round out this team and go head to head with a team like the Clippers who have amazing role players everywhere. But what do you think? Will Iguodala land on the Lakers? Do the Lakers need him or can they win without him?