‘Prophetic’ Andre Iguodala message key to Warriors’ NBA Finals run
Kerr: ‘Prophetic’ Andre’s message key to Dubs’ playoff run originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Before the Warriors won the NBA Finals for the fourth time in eight seasons, Steve Kerr wasn’t sure if his team was capable of winning a championship.
That doubt was something he and general manager Bob Myers had discussed before the playoffs, Kerr told reporters Wednesday, and at the time he thought Golden State would make it to the Western Conference finals at best.
But once the Warriors got healthy and entered the postseason with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green on the court together again, he recalled the moment he actually began to believe in their chances at winning another ring.
And it was all thanks to one playoff-experienced veteran who knew exactly what it would take.
“… One of the great things that happened in the playoffs was Andre [Iguodala] gave a little talk to the team that said sometimes in order to win a championship, you have to improve from round to round, depending on your team,” Kerr said. “He said, ‘I think this is the type of team that’s going to have to do that, and we’re going to have to improve each round, but we can do that since we have almost everybody healthy.'”
Iguodala wasn’t healthy, Kerr noted, but he knew what the group around him was capable of when playing at full force. The 38-year-old’s limited minutes in both the playoffs and during the regular season saw him shift into more of a coaching role this year than ever before, and he often could be seen emphatically coaching up his teammates when he wasn’t on the floor.
Iguodala’s knowledge proved invaluable from the sideline as Golden State made its run to another Larry O’Brien trophy. As time went on, Kerr and Myers began to look at things more optimistically.
“Andre turned prophetic, and I think that as we went, I think Bob and I both kind of shifted our opinion — like we kept getting better, and it’s like, wait a second, maybe we do have a chance,” Kerr said wednesday “I think that’s what made this one so sweet, what in a lot of ways it was unexpected. I know there’s been a lot of internal talk this last year about, hey, next year when our young guys have a year under their belt and we get Klay for a full — next year is our run.
“So to make this run and pull it off this year was kind of unexpected, but all the more sweet.”
The Warriors used the flexibility within their roster to do exactly as Iguodala said, improving as each playoff round passed with a next-man-up mentality from series to series. They picked each other up amid slumps and injuries and embraced their individual roles in Kerr’s various lineups, with each opponent requiring a different gameday strategy.
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“It’s one of the most gratifying aspects of this championship, which was just how selfless everybody was and everybody was all in, and you could kind of feel the magic starting to happen as we went further and we were able to complete the deal,” Kerr said.
Looking back, Kerr reflected on when that magic began and just how important Iguodala’s message was to reaching their sweetest championship yet.
“… Andre was just a really big part of this with his guidance and leadership and wisdom, and that was — I thought that was a big moment for the team,” Kerr said.
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