Golden State Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala enters the NBA Finals as the reigning Finals MVP. And despite speculation that he’ll replace Harrison Barnes in the Warriors starting five, Iguodala enters the series firmly positioned as a reserve. To prove it, consider this: last season Iguodala didn’t start for the title-winning Warriors in a single regular season game; this season, he started in exactly one.
Yes, the playoffs tell a different story. But Iguodala didn’t even start every game in the 2015 Finals against the Cavaliers — he won his Finals MVP honors mostly from his reserve position. In both years he averaged just a shade less than 27 minutes per game. He’s averaging just over 31 per game in this year’s playoffs, logging 43 minutes in the decisive game 7 against OKC — a game which he surprisingly started. In the Finals Iguodala is expected to be a critical component in slowing LeBron James, which he can’t do from the bench. But Golden State won 73 games this year, an NBA record. And Iguodala started just one of them.