Iguodala Really Has Become The Glue


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SACRAMENTO, Calif. –Andre Iguodala has really been the glue to the team,” Andre Iguodala was saying Tuesday night in the visitors’ locker room. “Without him, I don’t know where they would be. I hope they realize that.”

It was a joke, another moment of good spirit in what was already a feel-good run by the Nuggets that stretched to six wins in a row with the 120-113 victory over the Kings at Sleep Train Arena.

Oh, and they do realize it.

That is the serious take-away, and not just from Tuesday. The Nuggets pretty much know where they would be without him, or at least what they would be had Iguodala not been acquired from the 76ers in the trade that sent Dwight Howard from the Magic to the Lakers and Andrew Bynum from Los Angeles to Philadelphia.

Denver would be good enough to be in the playoff picture, as was the case last season, but probably not good enough to be a threat beyond throwing a scare into one of the top-seeded teams, as was also the case last season while taking the heavily favored Lakers to seven games in the first round. Denver would be a fun bunch of scoring but lack the defensive presence required to truly become a postseason factor.

The Nuggets are 40-22, fifth in the Western Conference and three games out of third, because they have gone from 23rd in shooting defense in 2011-12 to tied for 11th in 2012-13.

“We thought he would fit our system extremely well,” coach George Karl said. “I think he’s gone far above and beyond at the defensive end of the court of doing what we want him to do. I have been surprised at offensively, the speed of how we like to play has confused him at times. But it’s not a problem. It’s just something that he’s got to get better at. We’ve got to help him get better at it. And I think we are.

“I don’t think there’s any question in my mind: I have confidence that hopefully in a playoff game he’ll have a big night and win us a game because of his offense as much as being whatever you want to put him in. I put him in the top 10 defensive players in basketball. That’s so much of what we need. We need that. We need to think defense more. We need to have pride in our defense more. Whatever improvement we’ve made in that area, I think he’s got to get most of the credit.”

In what has turned out to be a blockbuster that led to uncertainty – Will Howard find health and happiness in L.A.? Will Bynum find health and the court in Philly? Will the rebuilding Magic find their way back to relevance? – Iguodala in Denver has been unquestionably positive.

He may opt out of the final season of his contract, but every indication is that he would do it to re-sign a long-term deal, not to leave. He may be having adjustment moments on offense, but is still a weapon who must be respected.

There is little sign of blockbuster-induced uncertainty.

“I’ve probably had about two or three good games, like real Andre Iguodala games, this year,” Iguodala said. “I haven’t had many. I haven’t been able to be in attack mode as much as I’ve wanted to be. But it’ll happen. I think the main thing is not to really press.”

He thinks it will happen in the playoffs. He thinks everyone will realize the one big name from the trade who is working out.

“I noticed it,” Iguodala said, needle at the ready. “I’m not really surprised. It’s just something I pride myself on as a basketball player, having that knowledge, being the guy who can go to any situation and make the situation better for that team.”

The Nuggets’ situation is already better, with the possibility of more gains to come in the postseason. It is impossible not to realize that.

16 Comments

  1. Matthew says:

    Yeah I like the fact the West teams are all pretty decent so let them beat each other up. Iggy Vs. Lebron?? Naaahhhh

  2. Kasey says:

    I notice a lot of comments downing Andre’s offense. There are games when he is able to find his flow and there are other times when he struggles just like other guys in the league. The Nuggets coach already said that they did not get Andre in the trade to be an offensive guy. He is there for defense. Do some of you even read or really watch the games? Real fans would notice the impact that he has on this team. While some of you are watching to see a player score only, I am also watching defensive plays. One time Iggy made a screen so well for Andre Miller, I was really impressed. He also manages to get a lot of steals, because his hands are everywhere. I love watching him play.

  3. W/E says:

    Iguodala cant shoot the ball. He is good on defence but hey he cant score.

  4. Spire says:

    Meh, Iggy is good on defense, but I still found Aaron Afflalo to be a better fit for the Nuggets. He defends the 2 spot just as well as Andre , but the thing with Afflalo was that he could shoot 3 balls lights out. Iggy shoots huge bricks every game lol. Overall, if you take Afflalo on the Nuggets over Andre, they’d be better. Don’t ever give the ball to Iggy on offense. As a nuggets fan, he is an offensive bust.

    • googergieger says:

      On what planet is Affalo the defender Iguodala is? Iguodala’s defensive impact on the game is comparable to that of a big. He has better on/off court numbers on defense than Tyson Chandler or Noah. Affalo was a good defender that regressed last year. Denver has enough offense where Iguodala’s defense and all around filling up the stat sheet self, help out way more than Affalo ever did or could.

  5. Blind Lemon Pye says:

    Wow, remember how the Knicks were the talk of the league at the beginning of the season and how Denver was faltering? What a turnaround, the Nuggets now have a better win percentage that the Knicks!

  6. Charlie says:

    Iggy is the poor man’s Lebron. He defends well, scores 15 points a night, rebouds, and he can dish out to his teammates.

  7. Rob says:

    Can you say Quiet and Unselfish.

  8. kmek13 says:

    Love the addition of Iguodala to the team. Yeah he had a slow start, but really has come on and yes, I do believe
    that he is the “glue’ behind the team. And I too have been following the nuggets since the days of the Horse and Kiki
    and Hanz, so know a little bit. Love the nuggets and that they play like no one else. I think they are going to surprise
    a lot of people in the playoffs.

  9. Jt says:

    iguodala is terrible. if you were a nuggets fan and watched every game you would know how bad he is. he takes like a million shots and misses them. he is a good defender but is offensive game is really bad. i think he is very overrated. if the nuggets didn’t have iguodala and didn’t make that trade i bet the nuggets would be doing better.

    • theONE says:

      shows how much you know about basketball. And yes I’m a Nuggets fan of more than 10 years and watch almost all of their games.

  10. Raphael Alonzo says:

    underrated!

  11. darcy says:

    i have no idea why this dude isnt more popular throughout the league!!

  12. AI says:

    IgUOdala, dude. Iguodala.

  13. Lincoln says:

    It has been amazing being a Nuggets fan the past 8 years. I started following them in New Zealand and it’s been a treat to follow them on NBA.com. As long as Carl is at the helm this team just always seems to be playoff caliber. Can’t believe how easily they saw off trading Anthony to build a team which in my opinion is already better than the Knicks. I don’t think they’ll win the whole thing this year, but next year with the experience these young guys have they’ll really push next season as a contender. I also think they now have a team that can attract another serious super star.

  14. GoNuggets says:

    Great article, great coach & a great team! Can’t wait for that 4-5 match-up with Grizzlies!
    BUT the highlight above is just bad – all I see is DeMarcus Cousins being a punk after Kosta Koufos commits a hard foul. Just sad