Kerr: Kevon Looney will "probably" start at center in Saturday's preseason opener for Warriors
Back from injury, and facing a crowded frontcourt, Looney still answers a lot of needs for coach Steve Kerr and Golden State
You know how you can almost drop something, but then you catch it, and everything’s ok? Like, when you open the spice cabinet and the garlic powder comes tumbling out and you manage to make a smooth one-hand grab? And right after, you look around to see if anyone saw?
That was Kevon Looney’s previous season.
Wracked by injuries, Looney appeared in just 20 games last season - posting the worst statistical performance of his short career, by far.
But now, Looney has a chance to catch the spice jar before it shatters. That last season is best forgotten, and Looney now looks to make a healthy and triumphant return to a Golden State Warriors team that needs him now more than ever.
Unfortunately, this first preseason game is the sole preseason game that wasn’t picked up for broadcast.
Looney emerging as key answer for Warriors unlcear path at center position
Because Draymond Green and James Wiseman are both still out due to Coronavirus, Looney is getting the first start, the path is clear for Looney; but this opportunity indicates that even with everyone fully healthy, Looney will feature heavily in Kerr’s rotations.
Coming into last year, Looney was expected to become one of the standouts amidst a lost season, but after playing just 10 minutes in the first game of the campaign, it quickly became clear that it wasn’t going to be Looney’s year. Initially diagnosed with neuropathy, he gamely attempted to play through it a couple more times before getting season-ending surgery for what the team called a core muscle injury.
If he’s as healthy now as everyone says he is, his stalwart defense and heady gameplay could force coach Kerr to make some tough decisions with the rotation. It would be a problem that the team would welcome.
Looney, who averages 15 points, 12.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2 blocks per 100 possessions, has a chance to recover from an off season, but to do so he’ll have to emerge from an extremely crowded frontcourt rotation. Besdies heralded #2 overall pick, James Wiseman, the intriguing Marquese Chriss returns for his second season with the team.
All three players offer dramatically different skill sets. Looney is a “glue guy,” Chriss has significantly more offensive punch but is less reliable, and Wiseman is an athletic dynamo that will outrace everyone.
Looney’s emergent talent is subtle: reliability. Making the right plays frequently enough that it becomes a known pattern.
Drew Shiller @DrewShiller“Kevon Looney huge play in the 4th quarter No. 1” = he blows up a lob to Capela, forces the tie-up and then wins the jump ball https://t.co/9rF0tA6Uuu
Looney has proven himself on big stages in a way that separates him out from the rest of the frontcourt rotation. And that’s why Kerr is starting him for the first preseason game - and will continue to view him as a critical rotation peice.