The offseason minicamp is underway for the Golden State Warriors, and if you find yourself not caring, I completely understand. Steph Curry is not there, and neither is Draymond Green. The Warriors haven’t played in about 200 days, and there’s still a season going on that doesn’t involve the Dubs.
Plus, we still don’t know when the next NBA season will begin, so we don’t even know when we’ll see the Warriors in action again.
But there’s still a few reasons to be excited, and at the middle of those reasons is one of the easiest Warriors to root for: Kevon Looney. The Warriors young center had a disastrous 2019-20, largely for reasons outside of his control.
He suffered an injury during the 2019 playoffs, then spent the offseason trying to recover. But another injury right before training camp kept him out of the preseason, and an injury on Opening Night kept him out well over a month.
In all, Looney played in just 20 of the Warriors 65 games, recording a mere 262 minutes of action. He dealt with nerve issues, which are always scary, and ultimately had surgery while the season was suspended prior to the Disney Resort bubble (not that he would’ve had a chance to play there anyway, with the Warriors being eliminated from the playoffs before the coronavirus suspended the season).
He’s still just 24, but with those types of injuries, it was fair to wonder if Looney could ever recover. But according to Looney himself, he’s fully recovered, and feeling better than he has in years.
Kevon Looney: "The last time I felt this good was probably the start of my third season."— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) September 24, 2020
Kevon Looney: "I played last season scared to move." Said that the core muscle surgery he underwent dramatically helped him.— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) September 24, 2020
Looney has been cleared for full contact for about a month now, and can start preparing for his sixth NBA season, whenever that may be.
It’s easy to forget just how good he was in 2017-18, when he was a spectacular defensive big man who was able to shut down James Harden and Chris Paul repeatedly when switched onto the All-Star guards in the playoffs.
It’s also easy to forget just how young Looney is; he’s only nine months older than Eric Paschall.
He should still have untapped potential, but even if he doesn’t, a healthy Looney has proven to be a vital piece of a championship team.
It’s the healthy part to be worried about, but for now it’s nothing but good news on that front.