The Golden State Warriors have been on a roll since Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. They were on the brink of losing the Western Conference Finals, down 3-2 to the Houston Rockets. Then the Warriors decided to buckle down and handle business. Golden State dominated the Rockets for the rest of the season and then they proceeded to carry that into the Cleveland series, where they found a way to win Game 1 and then dominated the Cavs in Game 2. Curry, Durant and Thompson have got it done in the scoring department, Draymond Green has been his usual self defensively and the supplementary parts have been doing their thing filling in around them. One player that has been missing during this four-game surge is Andre Iguodala. The versatile veteran has missed the last few games with a knee contusion. All indications are that Iguodala will play and if he does, Golden State can take it to another level.
First, the Warriors have to decide if they want to use him off the bench or insert him right back in the starting lineup. Whether he starts or comes in off the bench, the Warriors will have the chance to put the Hamptons Five together on the court and that could be bad news for the Cavs defense. Iggy provides another playmaker on the offensive end of the court. He can negotiate the offense like a point guard, giving Thompson and Curry free reign running around screens to get open. Along with that, you can now put KD on one side of the court and give him isolations with no help because of the shooters surrounding him. Allowing him to back down someone and shoot a short, efficient turnaround jumper is like taking candy from a baby. Iggy's ability to negotiate the offense opens their offense up even more. Along with being able to negotiate the offense, Iggy also is a temperature for the team. He is a good decision-maker and he can feel when they need to slow down and need to speed up offensively. He can often be seen changing up speeds depending on the coverage. Without Iggy, the Warriors have been a little careless with the basketball at times and fortunate for them, it has not put them out of the playoffs. With Iggy back, those issues come few and far between along with even more assists.
Iggy may help the Warriors offensively, but he can be even more important on defense. LeBron James is averaging 40 points, 8.5 rebounds and 10.5 assists and seems to do anything he wants to do it. The one thing that has harmed the Warriors in their pursuit of guarding LeBron is the switches they have made. In recognizing that they really don't have anyone to defend James, they have been switching and then giving help to whoever switches on to James. In the Game 2, the Warriors inserted JaVale McGee at center to help deter more things at the rim and it helped, but in inserting Iguodala on the floor, the Warriors now have a guy that can guard LeBron the best without help. Even though Iguodala is smaller than James, he is very strong and he has quick hands. Throughout the Warriors/Cavs playoff battles, Iggy has been able to frustrate LeBron on the post and has been quick enough to stay in front of him when he tries to bully his way to the basket. If the Warriors fight through the picks more, then that will leave Iggy to defend LeBron more and that will be more of what they want.
The return of Iggy would be a great boost for Golden State and that means more problems for the Cavaliers. As for the Warriors, they will finally have all hands on deck if he returns as they try to hammer a nail in the coffin of the Cleveland Cavaliers.