Andre Iguodala has every reason to be ecstatic.
Through 50 games, the Golden State Warriors have won 41 times. They’re a legitimate contender for an NBA championship.
Everything seems rosy, right?
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“It’s still the same for me,” Iguodala was saying in the victorious Warriors locker room following a hard-fought 89-84 win over the 76ers Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center. “I’m still too analytical where I’m looking for something wrong where we can correct. Everybody’s goal is the same in this league that’s trying to win a championship so I’m doing whatever I can to help the team win. It’s not as fun as it should be for me. When that chance happens, that’s when I’ll be happy.”
If the Warriors manage to win a title, Iguodala made a promise.
“I’ll smile a lot,” he said. “That’s the goal and that’s what we’re trying to get to.”
Iguodala’s role with the Warriors this season is far different than the first part of his career with the Sixers. He was the ninth overall selection by the Sixers in the 2004 draft and went on to play eight successful seasons, culminating with an All-Star selection in ’12 under coach Doug Collins.
But the Sixers never advanced past the Eastern Conference semifinals and Iguodala never quite lived up to the hype of being the next A.I. To be fair, he wasn’t Allen Iverson. Not even close.
Iguodala has always been a solid player.
This season, he’s in the perfect situation as a role player. Iguodala played nearly 30 minutes off the bench and contributed 13 points, five rebounds, four steals, two assists and relentless defensive pressure.
He doesn’t have to be the No. 1 option or the star. The Warriors are loaded with talent such as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
“When you have so much depth, you have guys trying to prove themselves night in and night out,” Iguodala said. “One night, it may not be your night but the next night, guys are looking for you and it could be your night. Everyone wants the night to be their night but for us, it’s just executing and being on the same page. We’re not quite there yet. We’ve regressed a little bit. It’s hard to get wins in this league and you’ve got to take them.”
The victory didn’t come easy over the scrappy Sixers. But it was another win in a season chock full of them.
“I think you’ve got to give those guys a lot of credit,” Iguodala said of the Sixers. “They play really hard and that’s all you can ask of them. It’s a great young group. They’re very talented and athletic and the coaches are doing a great job. … You’ve got to give them a lot of credit. They’re playing really good basketball and they have such a young group and they’re playing so hard.”
Iguodala is playing hard in search of an elusive championship. Until that moment occurs and he’s able to lift the trophy for the first time, he won’t smile very much.
“We have work to do,” Iguodala said. “There’s a long way to go. If we’re fortunate enough to come out on top, I’ll smile all night long.”