1. Kevon Looney’s phenomenal play
Kevon Looney deserves more respect.
He is quietly (as seems to be his way) having what could be the best season of his career. In only 20.5 minutes per game, the UCLA product is averaging 6.1 points and a career-high 7.3 rebounds this year, including a career-high 2.7 offensive boards.
Having had surgeries on both hips early on in his career, Looney overcame injuries before to play integral minutes on the Warriors 2017 and 2018 championship teams. Plagued by injuries again for the past two seasons, his return to form is something to be celebrated.
Last year, the Warriors ranked 24th in total rebounds per game. Their current rate of 54.6 rebounds per game has earned them the status of 4th best rebounding team in the league. Looney’s play has been a huge part of that improvement.
His past five games have been particularly impressive: he has averaged 12.2 rebounds over that span – while playing against some of the league’s top centers in Karl-Anthony Towns and Nikola Vucevic.
Matched up against Christian Wood, Looney’s four blocks were also critical that tight game against the Rockets. In the absence of potential DPOY Draymond Green, he has been holding down the fort on the defensive end.
Looney’s excellence takes a bit of pressure off of the returns of Green and seven-footer James Wiseman.
The second half of what could be Looney’s career year is something to keep an eye on: the Warriors will rely upon his consistently impactful defensive play a stabilizing factor as the team works through its offensive issues and continues to develop its identity.