Andre Igoudala fits perfectly in Denver. There’s no way of beating around it. His playing style matches perfectly with Denver’s run and gun offense. Both parties have a lot to give to each other. For Denver, Iggy brings a seasoned veteran, albeit a hungry one. Andre is used to being a leader. Ever since Allen Iverson passed the Philly torch to Igoudala, he’s taken control of a team that seemingly had no face. Nobody really knew the identity of the 76′ers. Hell, we still don’t know their identity. However, Iggy led them…somewhere. Denver gives Iggy a chance to take control of a team that actually does have an identity. Everyone knows of Denver’s high octane, reminiscent of Mike D’Antoni‘s “12 second or less” offense he ran in Phoenix. Denver likes to run; Iggy likes to dunk a lot. Together they make a great combo. There’s only one problem; what about the rest of the division. The sad thing about Iggy coming to the west is the fact that it doesn’t get any easier for him when competition is concerned. Andre is coming to probably one of the most difficult divisions to compete in, and there’s nothing he can really do about it. Denver is still a young team. Even though they gave the Lakers a pretty good scare last post season, there’s nothing to say that they can repeat. Therefore, it would be wise not to consider Denver a contender this year simply because of Igoudala.
The projected starting squad for the Nuggets is nice. Ty Lawson will be a definite at point guard. If I were to organize this squad, I would probably put Igoudala in as the starting shooting guard. True, Iggy isn’t much of a shooter. However, consider that his stats are sitting at 12 ppg, 6 rpg, and 5.5 apg, and he looks like a shooting guard to me. Also, consider that a lot of the shooting guards in the west are not that big. Iggy brings a muscle to the squad that they’ve been missing. Long gone will be the days of being bullied around the perimeter. Danilo Galinari and Kenneth Faried will make a nice three and four guard combo, finishing with JaVale McGee as center. That squad would probably be Denver’s best chance of competing with the likes of OKC and a ever improving Minnesota.
What Denver can’t do is turn this team into a dunkathon. The most questioned part of Iggy’s game is his defense. That will prove crucial when guarding Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant. If Iggy doesn’t learn to keep his hands out, it will get ugly for him before he can even get his feet wet. That will surely be something he should get to work on when training camp opens. Also, perfecting a decent jumper will prove handy. Most of Igoudala’s 12 ppg has come from crazy dunks and layups. In some ways he almost reminds me of a center. While Iggy can shoot when he wants, he’s inconsistent. Inconsistency can haunt him on the floor, and in the locker room. One thing that George Karl doesn’t play inconsistency.
Do I expect Iggy’s stats to rise in Denver? Sure, I don’t see why he stats wouldn’t rise. However, do he really need to raise his stats to be successful in Denver. I don’t think. so. What Iggy needs to do is be consistent. Pick a point of attack, and stick with it. 12 ppg and 6 rpg will prove just find in Denver as long as Galinari is scoring and McGee is still rebounding. Iggy wasn’t sent to Denver to be a savior, he was sent to Denver because they still need need pieces. Iggy is a piece, not a prophet. Take a look at the Nuggets’ updated roster; notice how no one is a labeled as captain. Honestly, at this point, it could be anybody. It could be Lawson, Galinari, or Iggy. It all depends on who’s most consistent. That will keep the identity of this team intact.
As far as this team going far this year, I still don’t see it. True, Denver is steady improving. However, so is the rest of the division. Likewise, with the Lakers being the team to beat in the conference, I expect that every team will go the extra mile to win games simply to prove a point. Igoudala will be dealing with guards who have a chip on their shoulder. Imagine a determined/focused Kobe in your face. It won’t be a pretty thing. Igoudala must realize that it doesn’t get easier for him from this point on. It only gets harder. Welcome to the west.