Andre Iguodala plays big role in Denver's perfect week

Nuggets swingman excels while still adjusting to team's system
by Aaron Lopez

After eight years in Philadelphia, veteran swingman Andre Iguodala is still making the transition to his new role with the Denver Nuggets.

If the past week was any indication, the process is coming along nicely.

Iguodala averaged 19.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists during Denver’s four-game winning streak. He also went 29-of-56 (.518) from the field, including 9-of-18 from 3-point range.

“Just really playing with confidence and starting to get a better feel for our system,” Iguodala said after scoring 23 points against the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday night. “We’re really playing well off each other right now.”

Asked to rate his comfort level with Denver’s uptempo offense and pressure-oriented defense, Iguodala provided a candid answer that should be encouraging to his teammates, coaches and Nuggets fans, alike.

“Not even all the way there yet,” he said. “I would say about 70 percent understanding what (coach George Karl) wants. I’m starting to get a better feel for my teammates and where they’re going to be.

“We’re not even 15 games in yet. I didn’t think I was going to hit my stride until January. Hopefully I can stay consistent throughout the rest of the feeling-out stage and then be ready – boom – once January comes around.”

Iguodala’s week started modestly, as he scored seven points in Denver’s big road win against the Memphis Grizzlies last Monday. He then scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds to help the Nuggets overcome an 18-point deficit Wednesday at Minnesota.

Iguodala closed the week with a season-high 29 points against Golden State on Friday and 23 points against the Hornets on Sunday.

“He’s playing well, knocking down shots and getting to the basket,” Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson said. “We need him to continue to do that.”

If Iguodala was Denver’s top player last week, Lawson was a close second after averaging 15.5 points and seven assists. He capped his week by hitting 8-for-10 shots against New Orleans.

“Just being aggressive,” Lawson said. “If the shot’s there, shoot it. Look to the next shot, don’t think about the past one.”