Last year’s Western Conference Finals was the closest we’ve seen the Golden State Warriors come to missing out on the NBA Finals since the seven game series they had against the Durant-led Oklahoma City Thunder back in 2016.
A lot of fans were hopeful that the duo of James Harden and Chris Paul would finally be able to knock the Warriors off their perch that they’ve been sitting atop of since 2015, and they had a fairly decent chance at doing just that, going up 3-2 after Game 5, with 1/5 of the Warriors’ “death lineup” in the form of Andre Iguodala out due to injury.
Golden State eventually stormed back though, defeating the Rockets in 7 games, and eventually sweeping the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals to claim their second-straight title.
Iggy recently sat down for an interview with Mark Medina of The Mercury News and spoke out last year’s playoff run with the Warriors, and touched on his absence in the Western Conference Finals.
MEDINA: “What do you think of Steve and others on the coaching staff on the argument that the Rockets would’ve won the Western Conference Finals had Chris Paul not gotten hurt [in the final moments of Game 5]. They say the Warriors would have won the series earlier had you not gotten hurt.”
IGOUDALA: “Yeah. It would’ve been short. 4-1. They didn’t win. We won. It’s going to be fun seeing them this year. The West got tougher. I like seeing the West this year. The West is going to be fun. We aren’t the only team, so it’s no longer, ‘We got to get up for the Warriors.’ That’s what’s fun to me. Teams don’t get the other team’s best every single night. This year, it’s not going to be a cakewalk. You can’t just have your best game against us. You have to play on a nightly basis.
So instead of the Western Conference Finals going to seven games, Iguodala thinks Houston would’ve been able to only win a single game in the series if he was healthy the whole way through.
Considering the Warriors did with the series, and eventually the championship, there’s no real need to be playing hypotheticals regarding Iguodala and Chris Paul’s injuries, but it does add an extra layer to the budding rivalry between the two teams heading into next season.