Andre Iguodala says Warriors owner is 'part of perfect storm', compares pressure to Team USA
Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala has seen a lot in his 15-year NBA career. His Warriors will begin their fifth consecutive NBA Finals on Thursday night against the Toronto Raptors.
That’s the winning part of it. He joined the team in 2013-14, the season before the Warriors began the streak and won their first of three titles so far.
He started his career with the Philadelphia 76ers, a franchise that couldn’t get past the first round of the playoffs while he was there with one exception, fell to a 10-win season and now has back-to-back losses in the conference semifinals.
Those two sides frame the 35-year-old’s comments to Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher, in which he gives a leading remark on the Warriors owner and compares playing for the team to playing for Team USA.
Iguodala calls owner ‘part of perfect storm’
Joe Lacob purchased the Warriors in July 2010 for $450 million. Lacob said at the time he and business partner Peter Guber, CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, intended to innovate and rebuild. They said they would “return the Warriors to greatness and build nothing short of a championship organization that will make all of us in the Bay Area proud.”
At the time, the Warriors had made the playoffs only once in 16 years and Stephen Curry had just finished his rookie year. The turnaround was swift. The Warriors made the playoffs in 2012-2013 and haven’t missed them since.
Iguodala told Bleacher Report:
"He's part of the perfect storm. New ownership [comes in with the attitude], 'I want to win.' Tastes success very early, so he's all in. That's the gift because he will go to whatever lengths to keep this thing going. But he hasn't experienced the real NBA yet. I'll leave it at that."
Iguodala “leaves it at that,” so he isn’t clear on his version of the “real NBA.”
The Warriors will likely get some sort of shake-up this offseason, as any team eventually experiences. Kevin Durant can opt-out of his contract and Klay Thompson will be an unrestricted free agent.
Iguodala has already seen other sides of the NBA, where chances at a title scarce. As a rookie with the 76ers, he went 43-39 and made the playoffs. The seven years following the team couldn’t eclipse 41 wins and never made it past the first round.
Iguodala compares Warriors to Team USA
Teams that win a lot are expected to win. The threshold is low for any type of loss or even wins that don’t provide a large enough margin. Iguodala, dubbed the Warriors’ “gatekeeper” by Bucher, has seen the change first-hand.
"We make the Finals four years ago and it was, 'Man, I just love y'all so much for what you've done and how y'all play. Win or lose, love y'all.' Now? Guy pulls up next to me and says, 'Hey, I need another one! I need y'all to get another one!' My bad. Three ain't enough. I'll get you another one.”
The Warriors dynasty has become like Team USA in his eyes. The United States dominates the Olympics with 15 men’s basketball golds, one silver and two bronzes. The Soviet Union is closest with two golds. So it’s really not close.
"Playing for the Warriors is just like playing for Team USA,” he said, per Bleacher Report. “When you play in the Olympics, you don't even enjoy it. There's the anxiety of 'We have to win. We can't lose, or we can't go back home.' We talk about it on the Olympic team: 'We can't go back home without the gold medal, fellas. Got to lock in. Let's lock in.' Then once you win, it's like, 'Yeah, we got it, we can go back home. Yay, we won, but we were supposed to.'"
Team USA go for a four-peat at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and as always are expected to win. Kind of how the Warriors are expected to win the final series of the NBA season, if even most of the country looks to be rooting for the north. The pressure is real.
More from Yahoo Sports: