Iguodala a Good Fit in Denver’s Offense?
The Nuggets added (Andre) Iguodala, and while it doesn’t radically change their team, the shift should be considered important to the Nuggets’ outlook. They lost a shooter in Arron Afflalo and a scorer in Al Harrington. What they got back is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, who can guard Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant in consecutive games. He’s a statstuffer but more importantly, he does all the things which aren’t captured, the “winning plays” coaches always talk about.
How Iguodala adjusts to a faster pace will be very interesting. The Sixers did get out in transition selectively last year, but they were also one of the slowest-pace teams in the league. The Nuggets averaged over 96 possessions (estimated) per game last season. In the 14 games with 96 or more for Philadelphia, Iguodala’s game changed slightly. His usage rose from 17.72 to 19.72, meaning that more possessions ended with a shot or turnover for Iguodala. His rebounding and assist rates dropped slightly, but maybe most notably, his TrueShooting percentage, which factors three-point shooting and free throws, rose from his season average of 54 percent to 63 percent, a gaudy number for a wing.
In short, Iguodala in faster-paced games became less versatile and scored more, and more efficiently. Whether that plays out in Denver the same way has yet to be seen, because Denver has more weapons and a better transition system than Philadelphia. But it bodes well for Iguodala to fill the gap left by the scoring that left. If the offense remains at the elite level it was, and Iguodala helps the defense take a major step forward, the Nuggets may really be ready to move up a rung in the West.
They’re not a title contender, not with the kind of teams they’re up against. But this gives them the first superstar to build a team around with all those young assets. Even if no one knows his name.