How Andre Iguodala has helped Warriors as coach, mentor amid injuries

Three-time NBA champion Andre Iguodala is an invaluable presence for the Warriors both on and off the court.

But as injuries have limited the 38-year-old forward’s playing time this season, his role on the team has shifted into that of a coach more than ever before.

Following a regular season where he appeared in just 31 games, Iguodala hasn’t played since Golden State’s opening round NBA playoff series against the Denver Nuggets as he recovers from a disc injury in his neck. His leadership is missed on the floor, but it hasn’t disappeared.

Lately, he leads from the sideline — a wealth of experience Warriors coach Steve Kerr says the entire team has benefited from, veterans and youngsters alike.

“We had a great mentoring system in place this year with all these young guys playing with our vets who had seen it all,” Kerr told reporters on Sunday ahead of Golden State’s sixth NBA Finals appearance in eight seasons. “Andre, in particular, was just incredible this year and continues to be so with his counseling and advice.

“He does it in a way only Andre can, with humor and sarcasm and cryptic messaging.”

Whether he’s shooting Draymond Green a disapproving look after fouling out in the postseason or lending pointers to promising rookies like Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, Iguodala is someone who the entire Warriors roster benefits from having around.

“As a coach, he’s really blunt. He’s going to tell you the truth, even if you don’t want to hear it at the time,” Kevon Looney told reporters on Sunday. “I learned a lot from him, being on the court with him. He’s going to make sure that you get it down … I think he’s done a great job of teaching our guys the details and the small things, and he’s been a huge locker room presence.”

Iguodala doesn’t just mentor the team’s younger players, Looney added, but serves as a shoulder to lean on for veterans like Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.

“He has a great feel of knowing when to talk to people, knowing when to encourage or when to yell at people, so he’s just a great leader for everybody,” Looney said.

Iguodala is one of only three players from the 2004 NBA Draft who are still playing in the league. As someone who has “been through the fire” throughout his 18-year career, Looney added, Iguodala’s teammates are more inclined to listen to his battle-tested advice.

When asked by reporters on Sunday to describe Iguodala as a coach, Jordan Poole, like Looney, pointed out his attention to detail.

RELATED: Iguodala had priceless reaction to Draymond fouling out

“Extremely meticulous,” Poole said. “He likes to point out the details and small things. He has a lot of knowledge and he’s willing to share, which is really cool to be a part of … He’s also extremely real. He’ll keep it a rack, he won’t sugarcoat anything.

“… Being able to have him in our corner as a vet is huge.”

Whether Iguodala will return to the court during the Finals remains to be seen, but it’s clear that he’s still making an impact on the Warriors whether he’s playing or not.

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