Four-time NBA champion Andre Iguodala believes the LeBron James-led Miami Heat had a major hand in starting the small-ball revolution around the league.
During a recent podcast appearance, the 39-year-old explained his thoughts on the matter.
“Bron does well with shooters or guys diving to the basket,” he said. “And so, he doesn’t do well with midrange guys. It’s either you’re a stretch or you’re at the basket for a lob. And when he played with Miami and they lost to Dallas, they made subtle tweaks. It’s interesting — you started seeing certain tweaks where Chris Bosh would be at the 5. It didn’t look small ’cause LeBron’s got the ball, and he’s a big human being with the rock a lot…but they tweaked it against San Antonio, and I think that’s when you started seeing smaller basketball. Nobody really talks about that.”
Iguodala is certainly qualified to talk about the small-ball revolution, as he played a role in it years ago.
During the 2015 NBA Finals, the Warriors opted to start Iguodala, a 6-foot-6 player with floor-stretching capabilities, over Andrew Bogut, a more traditional big man.
The results were iconic. Iguodala joined the starting lineup for Game 4 of the series, and he remained there through Game 6, the clinching game. The Warriors won the title, and Iguodala was named series MVP. Across the three games he started, Iguodala averaged 20.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per contest.
The Heat and Warriors were a couple of the earliest teams to enjoy success through small ball, and the tactic remains very relevant in today’s NBA. It certainly has drawbacks, but when it’s successful, it often results in lethal offensive production.
Miami’s NBA Finals loss to the Dallas Mavericks in 2011 may have been a blessing in disguise for the organization, as it kick-started a run that resulted in two straight championships. The Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 2012 NBA title, and they got the job done again in 2013 against the San Antonio Spurs.
The Heat’s Big 3 era will always be remembered for its impact on the league, and Iguodala’s comments may give NBA fans something else to keep in mind when remembering that part of Heat history.
The 39-year-old, who hasn’t officially retired but is currently without a home in the NBA, spent two seasons with the Heat earlier in his career, so he got a good look at legendary head coach Erik Spoelstra, who had a hand in some of Miami’s revolutionary tactics.