Mar 18, 2014, 9:33 PM EDT
Andre Iguodala has helped turn the Golden State Warriors from a dangerous lower seed into a legitimate championship contender.
At 42-26, the Warriors are at least on pace for their best record since 1992. Their defense has reached unprecedented levels in Oakland, and their offense is full of talent.
Iguodala is central to both sides of the court for Golden State, so this is a pretty concerning setback.
The Warriors can probably survive their next two games, vs. Orlando tonight and vs. Milwaukee on Thursday, without Iguodala. The third game, vs. San Antonio, will be much more challenging.
They’re just a different team when Iguodala plays.
- Offensive rating: 109.4
- Defensive rating: 96.2
- Net rating: +13.1
- Offensive rating: 98.4
- Defensive rating: 103.6
- Net rating: -5.2
Part of the discrepancy is due to Iguodala playing so much – 55 percent of his minutes – with Golden State’s other starters (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Davie Lee and Andrew Bogut). That lineup has been the most productive of the NBA’s 38 most-used lineups.
- Offensive rating: 112.2
- Defensive rating: 97.1
- Net rating: +15.2
Harrison Barnes will replace Iguodala in the starting lineup, and despite his powerful name recognition and remaining potential, Barnes just isn’t having a strong year. That shows in his lack of chemistry when playing with Curry, Thompson, Lee and Bogut. With Barnes replacing Iguodala, that lineup is considerably worse on both sides of the ball:
- Offensive rating: 97.1
- Defensive rating: 104.5
- Net rating: -7.3
At least Golden State has five days off following this three-game stretch. That could give Iguodala a chance to heal.
If only the Warriors’ problems ended there, though.
Andrew Bogut is also out against the Magic tonight.
When Iguodala and Bogut, the Warriors’ top two defenders, are off the court, they allow 106.8 points per 100 possessions, according to nbawowy. For reference, that falls to 102.0 for Golden State overall this season and 98.8 when both play.
Fortunately for the Warriors, the anemic Magic offense probably can’t take advantage (even if Orlando has won six of seven at Golden State).
If this is just the Warriors being precautious during a long season, that makes sense. They’re 3.5 games behind Houston for homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs and 3.5 games ahead of Phoenix for the final postseason spot. This is the right time to rest players, especially considering the lengthy break after the Spurs game would give Iguodala a long stretch to recharge his batteries.
But if these injuries, especially the more-serious-sounding Iguodala’s, are more significant, they could pose major setbacks for Golden State’s title aspirations.
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