Dagger! That’s what Andre Iguodala sent through the Golden State Warriors back on November 29th last season, when he shot a three pointer at the buzzer for the Denver Nuggets, only to have it waived off after the video review. Defeat in the sight of victory is now a familiar sight for the Nuggets in terms of Golden State. First, the Oakland based team upset the Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs, now they have stolen away the teams only all-star, Iguodala. The Olympic Gold Medalist agreed to aid the Golden State Warriors for the next four years, shunning a more generous offer from the Nuggets.
Andre Iguodala’s reason for heading to the Warriors, “it’s a great opportunity. I’m trying to win a championship.”
It all comes down to championships for Iguodala, who took less money and one fewer year to play with Stephen Curry, David Lee and Clay Thompson. Iguodala is a smart guy, a really smart guy. Anyone who has had conversations will tell you as much. He has a mind for basketball and defense that rivals anyone in the league. So what’s wrong with the Nuggets?
Iguodala said publicly that he wanted to time and judge the state of the team after the firing of George Karl and the departure of General Manager Masai Ujiri before making a decision. The decision ultimately is that the Nuggets are closer to rebuilding than contending.
The team’s own comments did not help the situation. They seem to want to develop their young talent, even if it cost the team some wins. With Danilo Gallinari out to injury for the time being, an inactive free agency period for the Nuggets and the trading away of the consistent Kosta Koufos to make room for Javale McGee to start at center, the offseason has only backed up these comments.
Meanwhile, Golden State is on the edge of being a great team in the league and still have an outside shot of acquiring Dwight Howard, but even without him, this is a top 3 team in the West. Iguodala’s defensive skills change the dynamic of a team, which helped the Nuggets improve its winning percentage by more than 100 points.
The loss puts the Nuggets in an uncomfortable position. New General Manager Tm Connelly said that re-signing Iguodala was a top priority and the whole organization expressed belief that he would return. It turns out the Nuggets were just a pawn in Iguodala’s plans. This banner, still displayed on the Nuggets website after the announcement, now looks like a desperate plea from a team quickly running out of answers.
Ty Lawson, already distressed by the loss of Karl, tried desperately to convince Iguodala to stay. He now faces a much more volatile roster. It has been reported already that Lawson has not truly found the ability to lead in the locker room. With Iguodala gone, that responsibility falls to fan villain, but player favorite, Andre Miller. The Nuggets are quickly sinking to the level of bubble team in the West.
Nuggets fans can be angry with Iguodala all they want. Even more, some will dismiss him because he did not score or command the game in a comprehensible way (these are the same people who don’t understand the importance of the offensive line in football). Iguodala was definitely one of the most interesting players to watch because of those intangibles. His exit is an indictment on the Nuggets.
In the Mind of A.I., they’re just not close to winning a championship.