Iguodala says Warriors had holes, but Durant is 'a monster to fill them all'
Andre Iguodala sounds ecstatic to have Kevin Durant around
All of the teams that held media day on Monday projected optimism, confidence and excitement, but none of them had a better reason to be giddy than the Golden State Warriors. The group that won an all-time record 73 games in the regular season and then gave up a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals is significantly different because of the addition of superstar Kevin Durant.
Warriors forward Draymond Green told reporters, "If you're not better, you're getting worse," adding that he's not sure how good they'd have been if they brought back essentially the same team, via the Mercury News' Anthony Slater. Andre Iguodala summed up the feeling with the quote of the day:
Andre Iguodala on KD: "There were some holes on our team. We got a monster to fill them all."— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) September 26, 2016
You might scoff at the notion that the Warriors had holes, and that's fair. They did win 73 games, after all, and they were extraordinarily efficient at both ends of the court. Evidently, though, Golden State was not a perfect team. It was pushed to the brink by the Oklahoma City Thunder before being defeated by the Cleveland Cavaliers, and it appeared more vulnerable once their opponents started to try to match them with athleticism and switch more on pick-and-rolls involving Stephen Curry and Green. Here's what Iguodala was probably talking about:
- Outside of Curry, the Warriors did not have players who could easily create a shot at a moment's notice. This flaw was exposed when Curry was banged-up in the playoffs and teams pressured him, forcing others to make plays. Durant is the best one-on-one player on the planet, and he can shoot from just about anywhere on the court, regardless of who is guarding him. This will help Golden State in short shot clock situations, at the end of games and when Curry is resting. If Steve Kerr chooses to stagger Curry and Durant's minutes, then he can essentially always have one of the top few players in the league on the floor all season long.
- The Warriors did not post up much, and they did not have players who were adept at operating in the midrange. Their reported interest in signing Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki in free agency was likely about diversifying the offense, and Durant is an even deadlier weapon than Nowitzki these days. Modern offenses do not require post-ups, but when you have someone that automatically draws a double team in the post, you ought to throw him the ball. In Golden State, Durant will be the third Splash Brother, launching more open 3-pointers than he ever saw with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he will also be a scorer and facilitator in the mid-post and on the block.
All of this is to say that, while it's hard to argue that the Warriors absolutely needed Durant, he does address the few shortcomings that they had. What has yet to be seen is whether or not their other moves created problems with depth, rim protection and chemistry. Golden State obviously found a formula that worked the past couple of seasons, and while it seems like Durant should fit just fine, everyone involved has cautioned that it could take some time to come together.
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