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Don’t waste your time worrying about Andre Iguodala’s early season returns

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Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) reacts to a foul call during gameplay between the Golden State Warriors and the Utah Jazz at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on December 27, 2017. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)
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A quick look at Andre Iguodala’s season statistics tells a not-so-pretty story.

He’s got career-lows in points per game as well as field goal percentage (in general and from deep). He’s also taking fewer shots than he has at any point of his 14-year tenure in the NBA.

When asked for an explanation for his poor shooting on Wednesday, Iguodala told reporters, “I just suck. I play good defense, though.”

It’s tough for athletes to answer questions about why they’re struggling, because if they knew the solution, they’d have done it already — effectively avoiding that particular line of questioning in the first place.

It reminds me of the early part of the 2016-17 season, when Klay Thompson uncharacteristically shot the ball poorly for an extended stretch of games. He was asked, what’s worse: Going through a shooting slump or being asked about it?

Thompson answered, “the latter.”

“I tell them to relax, it’s coming,” Thompson said. “I’m not really going to worry about it too much. You can’t let numbers control your life.”

To get lost worrying about Iguodala’s shooting numbers is to completely misunderstand his role on the Warriors. He wasn’t brought to the Bay Area to carry the scoring load four years ago and he wasn’t re-signed this offseason — at the age of 34 — to provide a skillset already well accounted for by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant.

No, he’s here to be the “adult in the room,” as he and head coach Steve Kerr love to remind us.

“As long as you keep winning, it doesn’t really matter,” Iguodala said at shootaround. “If we were losing, I’d probably be getting traded, but we’re winning.”

And it hasn’t mattered that he’s shooting 23 percent from 3-point range.

Rewind to last season again, the Warriors were still emotionally raw from losing the NBA championship and many wondered if Iguodala would ever take a confident layup again after LeBron James blocked one of his to clinch the title.

Over the first 41 games of the season, Iguodala averaged 5.9 points per game — 0.2 more than his current mark. He got better in the second half, and his numbers followed — finishing with 7.6 per game.

In the Finals, he played a crucial role in Golden State clinching its second title in three years by scoring 20 points — tied for the third-highest output of the season.

Iguodala knows what he’s doing. And he should be at the absolute top of every Warrior fan’s list for “Guys who should be trusted to turn it on when it matters.”

“I’ve been playing for a long time,” he said. “I’m getting old. I’m about to quit. So, I’m gonna try to win a few more and then play golf.”

No reason to stress about him in the regular season in the meantime.

Contact Examiner Sports Editor Jacob C. Palmer at jpalmer@sfexaminer.com or on Twitter, @jacobc_palmer.

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