How Andre Iguodala helped the Warriors as a coach and mentor despite injuries

How Andre Iguodala helped the Warriors as a coach and mentor despite injuries

Three-time NBA champion Andre Iguodala is an invaluable presence for the Warriors on and off the court.

But as injuries have limited the 38-year-old striker’s playing time this season, his role with the team has shifted more than ever to that of a manager.

After a regular season where he played just 31 games, Iguodala hasn’t played since the first round of Golden State’s NBA playoff series against the Denver Nuggets as he recovers from a disc injury in his neck. His leadership is lacking on the floor, but he hasn’t gone away.

Lately leading from the sideline – a wealth of experience Warriors coach Steve Kerr says the whole team has benefited, veterans and youngsters alike.

“We had a great mentorship system in place this year with all these young guys playing with our veterans who had seen it all,” Kerr told reporters Sunday ahead of Golden State’s sixth NBA Finals appearance in eight seasons. “Andre in particular has been nothing short of amazing this year and continues to be with his guidance and advice.

“He does it in a way that only André can, with humor, sarcasm and cryptic messages.”

Whether he’s giving Draymond Green a disapproving look after a playoff foul or giving advice to promising recruits like Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, Iguodala is someone the entire Warriors roster benefits from.

“As a coach, he is really direct. He’s going to tell you the truth, even if you don’t want to hear it in the moment,” Kevon Looney told reporters on Sunday. “I learned a lot from him, being on the pitch with him. He’s going to make sure you understand…I think he’s done a great job teaching our guys the details and the little things, and he’s been a huge presence in the locker room.

Iguodala not only mentors the team’s young players, Looney added, but serves as shoulder to lean on for veterans like Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.

“He’s got a great feeling of knowing when to talk to people, knowing when to cheer or when to yell at people, so he’s just a great leader for everyone,” Looney said.

Iguodala is one of only three players from the 2004 NBA draft who are still playing in the league. As someone who has “gone through fire” throughout his 18-year career, Looney added, Iguodala’s teammates are more inclined to listen to his battle-tested advice.

When asked by reporters on Sunday to describe Iguodala as a coach, Jordan Poole, like Looney, highlighted his attention to detail.

RELATED: Iguodala had an invaluable reaction to Draymond’s fouling

“Extremely meticulous,” Poole said. “He likes to point out the details and the little things. He’s got a lot of knowledge and he’s willing to share, which is really cool to be a part of…He’s also extremely real. He’ll keep it on a rack, he won’t coat anything.

“…To be able to have him in our corner as a vet is huge.”

Whether Iguodala will return to the field in the final remains to be seen, but it’s clear he’s still having an impact on the Warriors whether he plays or not.

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