As the Golden State Warriors embark on a new, post-dynasty era, they’re moving forward at typical light speed. Despite Klay Thompson’s catastrophic Achilles tendon injury, the front office spared no expense in acquiring swingman Kelly Oubre, for instance.
But there’s still an eye on the past. Taking a look back could help the Warriors return to their impressive level of play that stretched through most of the last decade. Especially since the team is still driven by superstar Stephen Curry.
One player from years past that fit the Steph Curry Warriors perfectly was forward Andre Iguodala. Coming off the bench for much of his tenure in Golden State, he’s a supreme defender, owning a 6-foot-11 wingspan. He could also hit his share of 3-pointers and was solid in transition.
How can the Warriors fill that void? One option is veteran swingman Kent Bazemore. A nine-year veteran, he caught on in Golden State to start his career, thanks to his strong defense. At 6-foot, 5-inches tall, he owns a 7-foot wingspan, and shoots 35.1% from the 3-point line.
And now, he’s back where it all started. The idea of Bazemore filling the Iguodala role first started to ferment in my mind on the Quad Pod, and the thought was rekindled reading the San Francisco Chronicle. Here’s some of what Rusty Simmons wrote for that publication.
Bazemore was brought back on a one-year, veteran-minimum deal worth about $2.3 million to quite possibly do a similar job asked of Andre Iguodala, who made about $66 million during the Warriors’ five straight NBA Finals trips.
Now, 31 and a married father, Bazemore will be summoned to use his 7-foot wingspan to either switch defensively onto any position or lock down opponents’ best wings.
That sounds a lot like Iguodala to me. Though in reality, the Warriors would be fortunate if Bazemore provided anything close to an Iguodala level of play. Were’s talking about a former NBA Finals MVP, a truly special player.
But that doesn’t mean Bazemore can’t fill the role. Also in reality, we’ll say in actuality, Iguodala was a deluxe role player. He didn’t play heavy minutes, unless the stakes were high. And that might be when his absence is truly felt. But first the Warriors have to earn high-stakes affairs, namely, playoff elimination games. Hopefully, Bazemore can help Golden State reach those heights.