The decision to start Andre Iguodala instead of Andrew Bogut might have changed the series between the Warriors and the Cavaliers. After Cleveland succeeded in slowing down the pace and stonewalling one of the best offenses in the league with the presence of Timofey Mozgov near the rim, Steve Kerr decided to make the adjustment. The real mastermind behind the change, however, was one of the lowest-ranking members of the coaching staff, a "special assistant to the head coach" named Nick U'Ren.
"He's behind the bench, he's 28 years old, he's a kid," Kerr said, according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears. "We have a staff that is very cooperative. Whoever has the idea, it doesn't matter. And he brought me the idea."
The idea came to U'Ren after remembering how the Spurs changed the series against the Heat in the 2013-14 finals by going away from their traditional starting lineup to insert Boris Diaw for Tiago Splitter. That move added another ball-handler and scorer for San Antonio, who would go on to win the next three games to win the title. Benching Bogut and starting Iguodala, U'Ren figured, would have a similar impact as it would allow the Warriors to have their best perimeter defender on the court from the tip as well as having another ball-handler who could push the pace.
According to SI's Lee Jenkins, U'Ren convinced assistant coach Luke Walton to lobby for it and send a text message to Kerr at 3 a.m. It resulted in a drastic change to the starting lineup of a team that won 67 regular-season games and cruised to the finals.
After debating with the rest of the staff the next morning, Kerr decided to implement the suggestion. While the pace of the game remained the same, the Warriors' defense controlled James better and the offense had more spacing and fluidity to it. The result was the best game of the series for Golden State and a key victory to even things out after four games, 2-2.
It's rare to see such an open and supportive environment in the NBA, as head coaches are often afraid to be overshadowed by their assistants. In Oakland it seems no one is afraid to speak their minds.
"I was never that nervous," U'Ren told Yahoo! Sports. "Our staff is so amazing that they would never throw anyone under the bus or hang them out to dry. And obviously, they are being super kind for giving me credit. I was definitely happy when it worked because I wanted to win."
Surely every fan as well as the players and the rest of the coaching staff are as happy about how things turned out as the video guy who might have saved the Warriors' season.
SB Nation presents: The 3-pointer has gone from novelty to necessary