Andre Iguodala has lived on the basketball boundary all season and has been more than happy to inhabit that space.
He scores when necessary. Assisting and playmaking are now a bit more mandatory. Defense is still his wheelhouse.
Now? Well, now there is a bit of a philosophical shift for the Nuggets swingman. Ty Lawson and Danilo Gallinari, the team's top two scorers, are out — Gallinari (knee) for the remainder of the season, Lawson (heel) for the time being. It means the softspoken Iguodala must assume a more primary scoring role, and he knows it. The Nuggets' 132-114 rout of Houston on Saturday illustrated it.
Iguodala scored 18 points. More important, he showed an aggressiveness in looking to score, especially early in the game, that he largely has not had this season.
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But he insists there is no pressure on him to do so.
"I don't know if it's pressure. It's just trying to fill the void," said Iguodala, who is averaging 12.6 points, 5.3 assists and 5.1 rebounds. "That's something that I've tried to do all year, whatever void that needs to be filled. Being comfortable doing that. I don't have a problem doing anything on the court, whether it's scoring or finding guys or rerouting the ball defending. We have about five, six games to the playoffs, and I'm trying to get back into a scoring rhythm for the playoffs, but I feel like I'll be fine."
Iguodala's 18 points were his most since scoring 29 at Portland on Feb. 27. It was only the third time since Feb. 1 that he scored at least 18 points.
But anyone who knows his game realizes there's more to the story. Against the Rockets, Iguodala also contributed 14 assists, seven rebounds and two steals.
"He always fills up the stat sheet," said forward Wilson Chandler. "He's just a great team player. He plays defense, he passes the ball. If he's assertive the way he was (Saturday), he's going to be tough to stop in the playoffs."
Ultimately, that's what this is about. Iguodala acknowledges that scoring has been a struggle for him during his first season with the Nuggets. He shot 7-of-13 (.538) against the Rockets, above his .443 shooting percentage for the season. But he's committing himself to getting that aspect of his game in a better space as the NBA playoffs draw closer.
"I don't know if I'll force anything, but the ball will be in my hands for shots more," Iguodala said. "I was used to finding Gallo in spots. We were finding each other a lot, and he and Ty worked well together. I'll get a few more calls, so I'll get more attempts."
Asked whether it's difficult to go from a facilitating mind-set to more of a scorer's mentality, Iguodala shook his head.
"Not really," he said. "It's the game of basketball. I don't feel like I have any weaknesses, so just go out there and play. And with the flow of the ball coming to my hands more because Gallo's out, I just have to get into that rhythm. I'll use these last couple of games to get back into that rhythm."
Coach George Karl said he will work to help Iguodala reach the scoring production the Nuggets are going to need from him.
"I can't deny that A.I. and I will talk about how we can help him," Karl said. "But it's more 'don't change what we're doing. Just do it a little bit better and maybe switch it instead of playmaker be a scorer a little bit.' Are we going to change our plays? No. It's play basketball and think a little bit different. But don't get wild and crazy. Let me be the wild and crazy one."