Early signs point to smooth transition for Iguodala
As Andre Iguodala jogged back up the court, he exchanged a hand slap and a wry smile with Nugget point guard Ty Lawson.
If the non-verbal exchange were translated for closed-captioning, it might have read: “This could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.”
High-flying big men Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee were the most common recipients of lob passes from Lawson and veteran point guard Andre Miller last season, but the 6-foot-6 Iguodala figures to be a prominent member of the club in 2012-13.
“He’s another person I can throw a lob to,” Lawson said after practice Wednesday. “Today, he caught about three lobs from me, so it’s fun to play with him.”
After eight seasons playing with the Philadelphia 76ers in the traditionally slower-paced Eastern Conference, Iguodala is embracing the freedom of Denver’s uptempo style. If the second day of training camp was any indication, the transition is going smoothly.
“He was very good today,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “He was probably the best player on the court.”
Iguodala, 28, was acquired Aug. 10 as part of a four-team trade that sent Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington from Denver to Orlando.
As the second-oldest player on Denver’s roster, Iguodala will be asked to provide leadership on and off the court. His plan is to lead by example first, and then pick his spots to voice his opinion in the locker room.
“I’ve always tried to find a happy medium,” he said. “You have so many young guys having an impact on the game, sometimes they have trouble adjusting to an older guy or a vet. We have some good young guys, so we shouldn’t have any problems. We have hard workers who want to get better.”
Coming off a summer in which he helped Team USA win an Olympic gold medal, Iguodala is entering the prime of his career. An All-Star for the first time last season, he also is free of the trade rumors that commonly followed him over the past couple years.
That being said, he is taking an even-keel approach to training camp.
“Mentally, I’m at a better place, really just happy to get a fresh start,” he said. “We have so many young guys, they’ll take care of the excitement. They kind of get the juices flowing for everybody.”