There’s no denying the Golden State Warriors had a solid offseason. They added players like Otto Porter Jr., Andre Iguodala, and Nemanja Bjelica, all of which should have some sort or role in the rotation.
If all three do end up in the starting rotation, it could spell trouble for center Kevon Looney. Looney was the Warriors’ first-round draft pick back in 2015, and he was given a three-year deal following a solid showing in the 2019 playoffs. He’ll be a free agent following this season.
The Golden State Warriors have two centers, as they did for almost all of last season, but that doesn’t mean they’ll get equal use.
While he could still have his starting center gig, it’s expected that second-year center James Wiseman will start. Then, it’ll be up to the Warriors coaching staff to mix-and-match lineups that work well.
Looney’s skill set may not necessarily be what head coach Steve Kerr has in mind. At least if the team’s offseason additions told us anything, the Warriors will be looking to play small-ball lineups that are heavy with shooters.
Looney is primarily a rebound-first big man. He was originally given that new deal because he showed that he can impact the offensive end with his rebounding and the defensive end with his switching.
That may not be good enough anymore. Looney averaged just 4.1 points per game.
Despite playing just 19 minutes per game, Looney pulled down 1.9 offensive rebounds. While Looney should still have a role and be in the frontcourt rotation, his lack of shooting could present problems. He shoots over 77 percent of his attempts from within ten feet.
While Wiseman isn’t a much better floor spacer, he should be better as a rim protector, and he’ll be the player the team wants to build their future around as well. His starting role should be guaranteed.
With Wiseman eating up minutes as it’ll be his second season in the league and the Warriors bringing in three stretch-four caliber players, Looney may be looking at a role that would involve him just over a quarter per game.
He’d also get time when Wiseman inevitably gets in foul trouble which happened more often than not when Kerr gave the rookie big minutes.
Unless adding Porter Jr. and Bjelica was just for depth, having them in the rotation will only lower Looney’s minutes, which were already at a three-year low this past season. Expect a reduced role despite his understanding of how to play with the Big 3.