Karl: Iguodala's D has taken Nuggets to another level

Karl: Iguodala's D has taken Nuggets to another level
March 22, 2013, 11:30 am
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DENVER -– Andre Iguodala was nowhere to be found in the Nuggets locker room before playing his former team for the second and final time this season. When he was a Sixer, Iguodala was rarely accessible before games. His pregame ritual is strict and talking to the media is not a part of it.

Iguodala came to Denver last August in the now infamous trade that landed the Sixers Andrew Bynum, a guy who will play zero games this season and is an unrestricted free agent moving forward.

As much as Bynum has been a non-factor this season in Philly, Iguodala has been a big part of Denver's 48-22 record and 14-game winning streak. But be careful where you look to understand his contributions in the Mile-High City.

“A.I. is a highly efficient player that brings your defensive capabilities to a sophisticated level,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “He can cover any position up to probably center and he understands that defense is the foundation of success.”

“Offensively, he is a playmaker at the 2-position and the 3-position and he just enjoys the team to work,” Karl continued. “People say he is struggling but I haven’t seen the struggles. He’s had bad stat games but everyone has bad stat games. He is not a stat player -- he is an effective, efficient team player and I think he has helped our defense immensely.”

On the season Denver’s defensive numbers don’t wow you but during their current winning streak they have had the third best defensive numbers in the league. Considering the pace they play at -- third-highest scoring team and the No. 1 offensive rebounding team, to have a sustained stretch of top defensive numbers is a credit to the team’s concerted effort to be defensive-minded.

“Andre gets credit for his ability to demand more defense and our team’s fourth quarter effectiveness when you need more defense,” Karl summarized.

At the other end of the Pepsi Center hallway Iguodala’s former coach spoke about the one-time all-star’s strengths as well. Neither coach heard the other’s comments, and yet the similarities were striking.

“He can defend multiple positions. He is going to shoot the open three, he loves to be a playmaker," Doug Collins said. "He loves to get out and run on the break and he really loves to make the assist. He likes to really pass the ball so he fits in very, very well with this team and I am happy for him. Andre did a lot of good things in the two years I coached him and I am happy things are going well for him."

Iguodala is averaging 12.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.7 steals, but remember the words of his coach -– he is not a stat guy, he’s a team player on a team 26 games above .500.