Warriors Former First Round Draft Pick Called ‘Weakest Link’: B/R


Getty Kevon Looney of the Golden State Warriors during a game in 2020.

With the chances of a summer blockbuster trade all but out the window, Golden State Warriors fans can start sketching out how the roster will look on opening night of the 2021-2022 season.

During the late July NBA draft, with the unique luxury of making two lottery selections, the Dubs chose intriguing G-League star Jonathan Kuminga and former Arkansas guard Moses Moody. Through August, Golden State shored up the rest of their bench by adding the likes of Nemanja Bjelica, Chris Chiozza and former Finals MVP Andre Iguodala.

The team already had rotation players like Juan Toscano-Anderson, Jordan Poole and Damion Lee in the fold that will presumably be dressed for every game, while Dub Nation said goodbye to some contributors like Eric Paschall and Nico Mannion.

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When it comes to the starting unit, some players like Stephen Curry and Draymond Green are set and forget pieces, but head coach Steve Kerr will have an interesting decision to make during training camp as far as who gets the nod at center to begin each contest – Kevon Looney or James Wiseman?

How Soon Will Wiseman Supplant Looney in Starting Lineup?


GettyGolden State Warriors center James Wiseman during a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in January.

Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz addressed the Looney/Wiseman battle for the starting post and noted that while Looney may have the edge for now, the second-year pro out of the University of Memphis could be breathing down his throat.

“While Looney isn’t nearly as talented as the 2020 No. 2 overall pick, the Warriors were far better with him at center last season. Looney only averaged 4.1 points and 5.3 rebounds in his 19.0 minutes per game, but the Warriors were 8.4 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor,” Swartz wrote. “For a team that needs to stay in the playoff hunt while Klay Thompson continues to work his way back from an Achilles injury, overall effectiveness is more important than individual skills.”

Wiseman could have very well grabbed ahold of the starting gig last season and secured it going into this season, but the 20-year-old was limited to just 39 games due to injury. Looney meanwhile played in 61 games, starting 34 of them.

“At some point, Wiseman and his incredible upside might win the job, especially since he’s set to return for the start of training camp following meniscus surgery,” Swartz wrote. “For now, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr may decide to stick with Looney and try to grind out as many early-season wins as possible.”

Who Rounds out the Starting 5 Before Thompson Returns?


GettyDraymond Green and Andrew Wiggins of the Golden State Warriors during a game against the Charlotte Hornets in February.

As aforementioned, Curry is obviously locked in as the starting point guard, barring a preseason injury. With Green likely sliding in as the four – though he can guard most any position – and presumably Looney opening the season as the five, that leaves Kerr with two spots left in the starting unit.

It sure seemed like for the majority of the season that Andrew Wiggins was going to get moved in some kind of trade along with Wiseman, but with Wiggs likely back in the Bay Area, he should get the call as the starting small forward. Like Green, Wiggins can be pretty interchangeable at either the three or four.

That just leaves the two-guard slot open, at least until Thompson can re-enter the lineup. The main candidates for Curry’s backcourt mate to start every game are Lee, Poole and Toscano-Anderson.

Poole is listed at 6-foot-4, 194 pounds, which is just an inch and roughly 10 pounds more than Curry’s listed numbers, so the Dubs may opt to go with a slightly larger option. Lee is 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, while Toscano-Anderson comes in at 6-foot-6 and 209 pounds, so the difference is minimal.

Since the absence of Thompson – not to mention the presence of Green – may mean a serious lack of three-point shooting threat outside of Steph, Kerr may opt to make up for that by inserting Lee into the lineup. While nowhere close to the deep shooting prowess of his brother-in-law, Lee has converted 189 of his 501 three-point attempts (37.7%) over his 138 career games with the Dubs in the last three seasons.

One thing is for certain, once Thompson and Curry are finally reunited on the Chase Center floor for tip-off this season, Dub Nation is going to be exploding with excitement.

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Cal D
Cal D
1 year ago

While he is a good steady rotation piece, if Looney is your starting center you probably aren’t good enough. In Kerr’s system, centers only play 20 minutes or so, but that 20 minutes comes at the beginning of 1st and 3rd quarters when you want to get off to a good start, and a center who doesn’t score a lot or protect the rim makes it so hard. You are trying to punch the other team in the nose. A good 3rd quarter often means rest for key players in the 4th. (Curry and now Thompson too)

Bobb Ansig
Bobb Ansig
1 year ago

Looney is a strong backup, a reliable defender who can muscle up against true Centers and hold his own on the perimeter. He is a good rebounder lately bordering on VERY good, something the Dubs can really use. He knows the offense, and he doesn’t make many mistakes. At about 3% of the Dubs’ total payroll, he’s a bargain as a backup 4/5.

But he doesn’t space the floor, his mid-range is so-so, and he not a threat to drive or catch lobs. A solid backup guy who can be relied upon for Playoff minutes is the right role for him. Dubs still need a starter, and Wiseman won’t be ready for quite a while.

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