The Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers are set to face off in the NBA Finals and for Andre Iguodala, there will be a familiar opponent — LeBron James.
While Iguodala doesn’t have as prominent of a role as he had during his time with the Golden State Warriors, the Heat will need him to help slow down James. That is no easy feat for any individual player.
During an interview with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Iguodala made it clear that when guarding James, it’s important to understand that assignment entails guarding the ‘top talent ever.’
“You just got to have that will, understanding you’re guarding the top talent ever,” Iguodala told The Undefeated. “He’s going to make you pay when you make mistakes. You just try to play mistake-free basketball. Put him in vulnerable situations where you feel like you got the advantage, whether it’s a shot or a pass or where he is defensively.”
It will be fascinating to see if the Heat can find an answer for guarding James during the NBA Finals. No team has been able to achieve this aside from the Dallas Mavericks in his first ever trip to the NBA’s biggest stage in 2011. Since then, he’s had his way, but his teams obviously haven’t always won.
If the Heat can neutralize the rest of James’ supporting cast — starting with Anthony Davis — it may be enough to win the series. Miami has a variety of intriguing wing options to try to throw at him throughout the course of any given game while having Bam Adebayo to handle switching.
James is going to try to exploit pick-and-switch opportunities against any less than stellar individual defenders on the court. It will be interesting to see if the Heat can prevent that from being an issue.
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