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Kevon Looney’s 2018-2019 season review: the future has arrived

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Dub Nation has fallen in love with the young, versatile big man who overcame injuries and doubt to become a foundational piece of the franchise.

2019 NBA Finals - Toronto Raptors v Golden State Warriors Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images

If you had told me back in 2017 that Kevon Looney would one day stand as bastion of grit and toughness for the Golden State Warriors, I would have retorted that you were full of nonsense. At that time he appeared to be a fragile bust; a series of devastating injuries effectively wiped out his rookie season, and later inconsistent play made Looney a potential candidate to be waived as recently as Summer ‘17.

Now, flash forward to the the 2018-2019 season, where Looney played 80 games for the Dubs, starting 24 of them, and finished 9th-highest amongst centers in Real Plus-Minus. His tenacious defense and hefty 7-foot-4 wingspan allowed him to hang with smaller players on the perimeter while still guarding the paint (he had a higher Defensive RPM than Clint Capela or Steven Adams!).

Looney developed into a real pro last year, validating the Warriors’ decision to stick by him. Per Ethan Strauss of The Athletic:

“Having the hip surgery and then still having the pain with it, I was kind of scared jumping off one leg, jumping off two feet,” Looney said. “I was scared to be explosive. After I lost some weight and got really healthy, I got more athletic and healthy every year, more confident every year.

”They tell you, you play like I did with your hips being wrong your whole life, you’ve got a lot of untapped potential, a lot of untapped athleticism. Hopefully that’s true and I can find it.”

Looney earned the faith of the coaching staff and became an X-Factor during the postseason. He averaged 7.1 points and 4.5 rebounds in about 20 minutes per game during the tournament and repeatedly keyed pivotal sequences that swung momentum into Golden State’s favor.

His emergence as a rugged and dependable asset in the trenches was solidified in June against the Toronto Raptors. The Warriors’ defeat was marked by their defiance in the face of brutal injury woes, which Looney epitomized after suffering a gruesome collision with Kawhi Leonard. Remember when we thought Loon was done for the series?

And yet, Looney returned heroically in Game 4. How did he go from “out indefinitely” to back to battling with the giants?

Many in Dub Nation feared Looney would be scooped up by a thirsty team in the offseason who could offer him more money than the cash strapped Dubs. This was something that Andre Iguodala touched on last season:

Fortunately, over this past offseason the 23-year old budding star agreed to return to the Bay in order to rebuild the Golden Empire.

On the Warriors Insiders podcast, Coach Steve Kerr gushed over how important retaining Looney was:

“That was a huge signing for us,” Kerr said. “Had we lost Kevon, we would’ve been in big trouble because — I said it late last year — he’s become one of our foundational pieces. I look at Kevon, with all of our departures, he’s now one of our best players and one of the guys that we’re really going to count on from night to night.”

Thank you Sir Looney for a breakout season. We in Dub Nation salute you and look forward to the next leap you’ll take as you expand your game.

Poll

How would you grade Kevon Looney’s 2018-2019 season?

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    A
    (459 votes)
  • 23%
    B
    (145 votes)
  • 0%
    C
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (1 vote)
611 votes total Vote Now