Lost in all the hype of Dwight Howard heading to the Lakers was a move that helped another Western Conference team as well. The Denver Nuggets picking up Andre Iguodala is part of the trade that deserves a lot more attention than it is getting.
Iguodala’s game is not one you would immediately think meshes in well with the Nuggets’ style of play. Denver is a run-and-gun team that does not care how many points they give up as long as they are scoring more. They were top in the league last season in points scored and tied for second in most points allowed.
Iguodala is more of a defensive-minded, lock-down player. The Philadelphia 76ers were third in the league last year in points allowed. That was mostly because they played great team defense, but Iguodala was a standout.
So why would a great defensive player fit well on an offensive team?
Well, Iguodala brings more to the table than just defense. He is extremely athletic and explosive. His ability to get up and down the floor quickly will work great in a Denver system that loves to get out on the fast break. You may remember Iguodala actually competed in the dunk contest back in 2006 and came in second to Nate Robinson. Again, he is extremely athletic and his game has evolved and matured since then.
The truth is that Andre Iguodala is exactly what the Nuggets need. The Amar’e Stoudemire and Steve Nash Phoenix Suns proved that you cannot win by just outscoring your opponents every game, there needs to be an element of defense. Iguodala will bring that element to Denver, and what makes him so special is that the Nuggets will not have to sacrifice their offensive power when he is on the floor. Iguodala did not shoot too many three pointers in Philly last year, but he shot them well when he did, at almost 40 percent. He will probably get a lot of open looks in George Karl’s system, and if he can knock them down, he will be a huge asset to the team.
Speaking of George Karl, having one of the best coaches in the league is going to be great for this Nuggets team. They are a young, talented franchise with a lot of room to grow. Karl commands the respect of all the guys in the locker room and can potentially mold a lot of immature talent into something special. He will also have a great idea of what to do with Iguodala to maximize his potential. Luckily for the Nuggets, it looks like Iguodala wants to stay in Denver for a long time.
Unfortunately for the Nuggets, I still say the West is too stacked with talented teams for them to break through now, but if they continue on this path, their time may come.