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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Iguodala MVP in NBA Finals

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr gestures to his players while playing the New Orleans Pelicans in the second quarter at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, March 20, 2015. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group/TNS)

The Arizona basketball program emphasizes being a “player’s program,” which honors players in the past, present and future.

At this point in the year, Arizona basketball honors the past players competing in the playoffs, more specifically the 2015 NBA Finals. The Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers and the best player on the planet in LeBron James in the NBA Finals Tuesday.

Former Wildcat and Golden State head coach Steve Kerr has been a household name since he was a part of the one-two punch with Sean Elliott that made the Final Four in 1988. Kerr would also become a successful role player in the NBA playing alongside Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls, earning three championships on top of two more with the San Antonio Spurs.

After being a color commentator and serving as the general manager for the Phoenix Suns, Kerr would take his talents to Oakland to replace Mark Jackson as head coach of a young Warriors team.

Kerr would also add former Arizona forward from 1999-2003 Luke Walton. Walton has a brighter future in coaching rather than playing as he had a career average of 4.7 points per game as well as 25 high-fives per game. Walton, however, is younger and can relate more to the players compared to old-school coach Kerr.

The game of basketball is a game of chess rather than checkers. Kerr has played chess under Lute Olson at Arizona as well as playing for 11-time champion Phil Jackson and five-time champion Gregg Popovich. Kerr knows how to compete in big stages, and even though he is a first-year head coach, he has more experience than Cavaliers head coach David Blatt.

James was a matchup nightmare for Golden State as the four-time MVP stands at 6-foot-8 and 250 pounds. Kerr can’t have 2015 MVP Stephen Curry guard James, so there lies the problem.

Who will be the player to step up for the Warriors and contain “King James?”

There is another Wildcat on the Warriors and it’s not a coach. Forward Andre Iguodala has started for his entire career, whether it was at Arizona or with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Denver Nuggets. Iguodala was moved out of the starting rotation for the entire season, but would get the nod as a starter to guard James.

With Kerr starting a lineup of Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Iguodala and Draymond Green, playing small would be the best adjustment that Kerr made all season, despite winning 62 games in the regular season.

In a pivotal game four, James would only be held to 20 points, shooting 7-22 while Iguodala guarded him for the majority of the game. Iguodala tallied 22 points of his own. Iguodala then best LeBron James in a gritty Game 6 in Cleveland, Oh. Iguodala won the Bill Russel trophy for the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player.

The Warriors played the brand of what is Arizona basketball, which is a “player’s program.”

The Warriors finished the season as world champions and are bringing a title to a city that hasn’t seen an NBA it since 1975.

This is a win for Arizona basketball as well. 


Follow Justin Spears on Twitter.

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