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NBA analysis: Andre Iguodala's age may bite Warriors

  • Denver Nuggets' Andre Iguodala, right, dribbles past Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry during the first half of Game 6 in a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, May 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

It was always difficult to believe the Warriors were a legitimate destination for Dwight Howard. That's no knock on the Warriors or the Bay Area's attraction to free agents. It just seems like there was only one destination for Howard and that was Houston.

Howard never appeared like he enjoyed playing in Los Angeles or with Kobe Bryant. Despite what Howard says, when Kobe's pitch during the meeting with the Lakers was something along the lines of "stick around so I can teach you how to play," it's possible that sealed Howard's departure. The opportunity to make nearly the same amount in Houston (because of taxes) as the Lakers could offer made the Rockets the favored destination for Howard.

Despite Howard's baggage — which is considerable — if the Warriors had been able to land him it certainly would have been exciting, especially if the team had done it through clearing cap space the way they did to sign Andre Iguodala instead of a sign-and-trade that would have cost Golden State the future potential of Harrison Barnes or Klay Thompson.

As for what the Warriors actually did, the acquisition of Andre Iguodala was certainly a splashy, exciting move, but there are legitimate concerns about roster fit and age.

Who comes off the bench?

There is no easy distribution of starting positions or playing time in the Warriors' immediate future. One of the following four players will need to come off the bench for the team — Iguodala, Thompson, Barnes or David Lee.

Bringing Lee off the bench makes some sense as he is the worst defender and has the least upside of the group. The corresponding move of starting Barnes at power forward, though, isn't a perfect solution. Barnes played well there in stretches during the playoffs last season, but that was mostly during the series against Denver. The Nuggets were a team against which Barnes matched up well at power forward because they employed undersized power forwards (Kenneth Faried and Anthony Randolph). Barnes would likely struggle to succeed in a consistent role in the post because the West is full of power forwards both big and tall (Tim Duncan, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, Anthony Davis, Zach Randolph).

The other potential move, bringing either Barnes or Thompson off the bench, doesn't make sense. Why stunt their growth? Thompson and Barnes are both talented young players who deserve an increase, not a reduction in minutes this coming season.

There are some minutes to go around with Jarrett Jack gone, but Iguodala is not a capable replacement for Jack's role as backup point guard. Iguodala is a nice playmaker and can certainly slide over to point forward now and then, but you don't necessarily want him running the team.

Age, athleticism don't mix


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