OAKLAND – Andre Iguodala is prepared for an increased workload, even if he’s not willing to acknowledge his exact role as the Warriors approach Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.
Know this: Iguodala will get the bulk of the minutes against Cleveland star LeBron James, as was the case last June when the Warriors topped the Cavaliers in six games and Iguodala was named Finals MVP.
After averaging 26.6 minutes per game in the regular season, Iguodala is up to 31.1 in the playoffs. It has been a steady increase, from 28.2 in the first round, to 31. 6 in the second round, to 33.1 in the Western Conference Finals against Oklahoma City.
Iguodala played a combined 81 minutes in Games 6 and 7 against the Thunder.
“That was the point of being in the 20s throughout the regular season, for the body to be fresher going into the playoffs,” Iguodala said Wednesday afternoon. “I’m just being smart about treatments and make sure my body is hydrated, being in constant communication with our training staff and mentally being ready for the minutes to be a little bit higher.”
Might he start against LeBron and the Cavaliers? Nobody within the Warriors franchise is going anywhere near the subject. It has become a state secret.
And don’t look at coach Steve Kerr to shed any light. It has become his custom to parry such questions and post a starting lineup in the half hour before tipoff.
“I won’t tell you what I’m going to do,” he said.
Iguodala made his first planned start of the season, replacing Harrison Barnes in Game 7. Kerr conceded making such a change after winning 84 of 98 games comes with considerable risk.
“We’ve gone two years with Harrison starting,” Kerr said. “And it’s been a pretty good two years.
“So do you go away from something that you’ve been successful with?”
Kerr reached out to general manager Bob Myers to get his input, after which he decided to make the switch. Kerr phoned Barnes on Sunday to inform him of the move that preceded a 96-88 victory that sent the Warriors to the finals.
Whether Iguodala will start for a second consecutive game, he isn’t telling.
“Steve and I, we communicate pretty well,” Iguodala said. “Although we don’t have a lot of verbal communication, those brain waves are working on the same wavelength. We always talk about how we can switch things up.”
Iguodala wouldn’t even confirm when he was informed about starting Game 7.
“We had some conversation about it,” he said. “But it wasn’t official until it was official.”
If the 2015 NBA Finals are taken into the consideration, Iguodala likely will start. After he replaced center Andrew Bogut in the lineup last June, the Warriors won Game 4, 5 and 6 to take the series – earning Iguodala the Bill Russell Award.