Andre Iguodala's invaluable presence 'means the world,' Steve Kerr believes




 

Iguodala's presence 'means the world' for young Warriors stars originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

If the Warriors are to defend their 2021-22 title and repeat as NBA champions, Andre Iguodala is going to play a role both on and off the court.

After taking the entire summer to decide whether or not he wanted to play in his 19th NBA season, Iguodala announced Friday on the latest episode of his "Point Forward" podcast that he indeed will be returning to play for the Warriors this upcoming season.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr spoke to reporters on Saturday at training camp, where he discussed the plan for Iguodala this upcoming season and acknowledged that his role on the court will be limited. Kerr also revealed that at one point this summer, the 38-year-old likely was headed towards retirement.

"I think it'll be similar to last year," Kerr said. "When he is right physically and able to play, then he'll be playing. He can still play, he showed that last year. At the same time, he's at the age where he won't be available for 82 games, we know that. He was planning on retirement, so this was sort of a last-minute decision that he made.

"His presence is going to mean the world to us. We have so many young guys that the more mentoring and coaching from within the team the better."

Iguodala's impact off the court in a unique mentorship role has been beneficial for both the Warriors' young stars and even proven veterans such as Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. However, with Jordan Poole, James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody all expected to play significant roles this upcoming season, Iguodala's presence will be felt now more than ever.

"It's big, we need Andre on the court and in the locker room, Kerr added. "I've always felt that internal leadership is one of the keys to any great team, any championship team. The players have to have a hierarchy and the older guys have to help the younger guys, it's the only way it can work. And Andre embodies all of that. Thrilled to have him back."

RELATED: Draymond gets rave reviews to start Warriors training camp

The Warriors' system and the "hierarchy" of veteran leadership that Kerr alluded to have been paramount in each of Golden State's four championships.

With the foundation laid and most of the talent retained, the Warriors are well-equipped for another championship run this season.

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