Round One went to the Golden State Warriors when they eliminated the Denver Nuggets two months ago in the first round of the playoffs. The Dubs won round two on Friday, when they contributed to Denver’s epic offseason tear-down and signed Andre Iguodala, the Nuggets’ best player, for less money.
For his part, Iguodala is a top-three perimeter defender who should mesh well with the Warriors’ young trio of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes on the wing. But in order to clear up the money to sign AI, the Warriors had to send Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson, Brandon Rush and two first round picks to the Utah Jazz. Of those three, only Rush was anything resembling a useful role player.
However, signing Iguodala also meant passing on resigning outgoing free agents Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry – two important rotation guys who keyed Golden State’s first round upset. We turn to the numbers to evaluate whether this trade off was worth it.
Iguodala: Not a Model of Efficiency
Our nERD system, which calculates player efficiency, showed little love for Iggy last year, pegging him at a -0.2. That’s lower than smaller-name free agents like Tyreke Evans, Jeff Teague and Tony Allen. The good news for Warriors fans is that number was the lowest of Iguodala’s career, and with Curry and Thompson around to shoulder the scoring load, he should see increased levels of efficiency.
The bad news is what the Warriors gave up by signing Iguodala. Jack and Landry both posted higher nERDs than Iguodala, 1.5 and 4.8 respectively. Again, this is not to say that they were individually better players than Iguodala, just that they were more efficient in their roles and thus made more contributions to victories. The net result of picking up Iguodala and losing Jack and Landry? A 44-38 projected record, or three wins fewer than last year’s team.
Now, that’s a very rough projection, and it’s based solely on last year’s numbers. If Iguodala plays with the efficiency he demonstrated in 2011-2012 (6.8 nERD), Golden State would see an increase in projected wins. And as it stands, the Warriors have no bench to speak of. They will sign players to replace Jack and Landry, which will soften the blow of their departure.
It’s impossible to accurately project the Warriors until closer to the beginning of the season. But the numbers say the Iguodala signing might not be the coup fans hope it is.