Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Iguodala: Warriors aiming for 'more than' 50 wins
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry indicated the Golden State Warriors are aiming for 50 wins this season when he said earlier this month that there's a number that "has a five in front of it" written on a whiteboard inside the team's practice facility as a goal.
Apparently, that's not enough for Andre Iguodala.
Not after he helped the Denver Nuggets win a franchise-record 57 games last season. And not after he turned down more lucrative offers to sign a $48 million, four-year deal with the Warriors this summer.
"I would say more than that," Iguodala said Wednesday at the team's downtown Oakland headquarters, where most players have been voluntarily working out for about three weeks before training camp starts Sept. 29. "I just have really high expectations for us. I won't say too much about wins. I'd rather fly under the radar."
Iguodala's reasoning is simple. The Warriors knocked out his Denver team to reach the second round of the playoffs last season, return all five starters and made aggressive moves in free agency to sign him.
He cites the chemistry and camaraderie of the locker room as reasons the Warriors will improve, starting with most of the roster showing up a month before training camp. They've lifted weights alongside each other, worked on plays and held five-on-five and four-on-four scrimmages to speed up the learning curve.
"I'm going to have to make adjustments, just getting used to the guys. I think they're certainly finding out things that I bring to the table maybe they didn't know playing against me," Iguodala said. "Hopefully, that transition phase, we can work that out quickly to get things rolling."
Iguodala insists playing time will not be a problem. He praised the five returning starters -- Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, David Lee and Andrew Bogut -- for publicly and privately welcoming him to the team and making sure everybody is working toward the same goal: an NBA championship.
He sees no reason why the Warriors, which went 47-35 last season and made the playoffs for just the second time since 1994, can't be a serious contender. In the few weeks he has been scrimmaging alongside Golden State's prolific shooters, his excitement has been growing about the possibilities.
"Plan on some high assists nights," he said.
Iguodala is still settling into his new surroundings. He just secured a house, though he hasn't moved in yet. And the lifelong San Francisco 49ers fan took his 6-year-old son, Andre, to meet quarterback Colin Kaepernick -- and quickly learned that some Oakland Raiders fans weren't happy about it.
Iguodala knows he can't please everybody, and he knows his contract brings the burden of expectations. But he also sees that as a challenge and a chance to elevate his own status.
The former Arizona star helped the U.S. capture the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, and played his first eight years in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers before helping Denver go 57-25 last season. He has averaged 15.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists in his career and made the playoffs five times.
"I don't think I got enough credit for what I bring to certain teams, especially last year with the record that we had, breaking the franchise record for wins and how we kind of kept everything together and pulled off a great season," Iguodala said. "Just really continue to build with this team as well. Not just for one year but do it for multiple years, keep making runs at everyone's ultimate goal, which is a championship."
NOTES: The Warriors hired Lindsey Hunter as an assistant coach. Hunter went 12-29 as interim coach of the Phoenix Suns last season after Alvin Gentry was fired. Hunter played 17 years in the NBA and won championships with the Detroit Pistons (2004) and Los Angeles Lakers (2002).
Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP