OAKLAND -- Practice sessions might be closed during training camp, but gym walls can't contain the excitement the Warriors are feeling over their key offseason acquisition. They are confident that Andre Iguodala is the piece they were missing.

"We're going to love him being on the floor," coach Mark Jackson said recently. "The things he does certainly put you in position to be a better team when he's on the floor."

The playoffs this past spring revealed that the Warriors were a piece or two shy of competing at the highest level. Those who have watched Iguodala practice with his new team say the talent upgrade is unmistakable. The nine-year veteran -- whom the Warriors signed to a four-year, $48 million contract in July -- said he still isn't comfortable with his role. But his defensive presence alone makes a major difference.

"He's standing out with the way he can be effective on the defensive end," point guard Stephen Curry said. "He's blocking shots at the rim. He's rebounding the basketball. He's still getting comfortable. It's still early in camp, but he's definitely standing out."

Offense, Iguodala said, has been a struggle. He isn't looking for his shot so much, operating more as a facilitator in practice. That comes with what he calls "growing pains."

Iguodala, who is probably a better penetrator and passer than a scorer, has to learn the tendencies of his teammates and the system.

"I think it well get there, though, as soon as we play the games," Iguodala said. "It's going to take some growing pains. I'm going to have a lot of turnovers the first two weeks. So I'm just trying to get through that and be smart with it."

Playing alongside Curry and guard Klay Thompson figures to open driving lanes for Iguodala, allowing him to take advantage of his athleticism and ballhandling skills. But Jackson has more plans for Iguodala than just a point-forward role. Iguodala said he got a dose of that in Monday's practice when Jackson put more on his plate.

Iguodala said he is still trying to get a feel for the different things the coaches want him to do, some of which he acknowledged "I've got to do a better job of buying into."

Jackson made it clear he doesn't need Iguodala to stand out offensively. That was part of the intrigue of Iguodala coming to the Warriors. For the first time in a long time, he won't be expected to carry a team on both ends.

Jackson said he is fine with Iguodala blending in on offense. He said Iguodala is not going to "blow you away with his scoring." But with the loss of guard Jarrett Jack, the Warriors lost their main late-game facilitator.

Jackson loved to move Curry and Thompson off the ball and make the defense pick its poison.

Iguodala has the skill to fit that role and perhaps the size to do more with it. The Warriors are content with him scoring in transition. Where they want him to dominate is on defense.

"He's exceptional at reading passing lanes, making plays defensively," Jackson said. "He doesn't do it in the same way Klay or Harrison (Barnes) would do it because he's been around, he has a better feel."

Iguodala, who was named second-team all-defense after the 2010-11 season, will defend all three perimeter positions and probably some of the more agile power forwards. He said that end of the court won't be a problem. Statistics suggest he might be on to something.

In 2011-12, the Nuggets ranked 20th in the NBA in defensive rating. Last season, after getting Iguodala, they jumped to 11th. The Philadelphia 76ers were in the top 10 in defensive rating for Iguodala's final two seasons. With him gone, they dropped to 15th.

"Defense is defense," Iguodala said. "I'm looking to make all the mistakes now to see how I can mix up my coverages. But that's the easy part."

Saturday's game
Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers, 7 p.m. in Ontario. NBA TV