Good Morning Dub Nation,
During times of chaos both on and off the court, the Golden State Warriors often turn to savvy veteran center Kevon Looney to help calm things down. In a recent interview with Uproxx, the 27-year-old Warriors’ big man discussed a range of topics including this tidbit on who helped him become a rebounding machine — leading the league with 272 total offensive boards this past regular season.
It’s a few people. I would say my coach we added a couple years ago named Decky (Warriors assistant Dejan Milojevic). He’s one of the guys that really challenged me to be better in that area, to take it to another level and try to be elite at it. But as far as players, I got to learn from a lot of great bigs who are really good rebounders. I learned a lot from [Andrew] Bogut, especially the second time he came around. I got to really pick his brain. He showed me a lot of the little tricks and different things like that. So, I would probably give him a lot of credit for my rebounding.
Looney also discussed more underrated aspects of his game such as his development as a short-roll passer. The Warriors’ big man says he didn’t run much pick-and-roll before he got to the NBA. However, with Stephen Curry as his point guard, the eight-year pro had to adapt his game and has slowly developed it over the years to the point of near mastery. With his assist averages increasing every year — including a career-high 2.5 assists per game this past regular season — Looney explains his approach to playmaking out of the short-roll in Golden State’s offense:
It kind of varies from team to team that we play against. Different teams try to do different things to disrupt our offense. You know, we got Steph on our team, so he demands a lot of attention, and Klay, a lot of different shooters that demand a lot of attention. So, a lot of times, when we first start a series off, teams usually want me or Draymond to beat them, so they try to turn to us into scorers, so I usually to try to start off off aggressive, going to the rim, trying to finish. And then, as the game goes on, they start pulling over and trying to step up early, then I try to slow down and make sure I hit the shooters, hit the cutters. It’s something we’ve been doing for my whole time here, so now I kind of got it down pat. I know when to be aggressive. I know when the defense is going to pull over. I know when my guys are going to cut. I know where the shooter is going to be at, kind of secondhand now.
Looney ended the interview talking about his favorite memories of his Warriors’ tenure. As a rookie in the 2015-2016 season, Looney had front row seats to Golden State’s core entering the peak of their now legendary powers.
(Smiling) I’ve had a lot of moments with those guys where it’s like, ‘Man, this is incredible.’ But it didn’t take long. My rookie year, we went 73-9 and we won our first 24 games. And it was like ‘Man, this is the NBA, you don’t lose.’ I didn’t know what to expect coming in. Steph won unanimous MVP that year, so he seemed like he never missed a shot. Draymond was everywhere. He might’ve won Defensive Player of the Year that year [editor’s note: Green won DPOY the next year]. And Klay, I seen Klay hit like 11 threes [in a game] that year. So, my rookie year, I got to see a lot of different things. I think it all came into a peak of everything, I think, my rookie year. We beat OKC. That’s the infamous Draymond arguing with Steve at halftime and the Steph Curry half-court game-winner. That’s what I remember. It was February around my birthday. I was watching live on the court. I didn’t get in the game. I don’t think I had a jersey on, but just to see that, how dedicated they were to winning. … They were able to band back together and do something special and beat a team that had [Kevin Durant] and Russell [Westbrook] in a crazy environmental on an ABC game. I was like, ‘Man, these guys are really good, this is why they were champions.’
Again, the entire article is worth a read as Looney dishes on more subjects such as his love for music and being a DJ to his student-mentor relationship with Draymond Green. As the Warriors head toward an uncertain future, they do so knowing their veteran big man will always be there to provide a calming sense of stability.
Here are the rest of today’s stories:
In case you missed it from Golden State of Mind:
- Steph Curry wins the PBWA Citizenship Award
- Jonathan Kuminga drawing ‘strong level of interest’ from league executives
- Report: Warriors and Bob Myers have little traction in contract talks
- Draymond Green blames the Warriors elimination on his preseason punch
- Steve Kerr addresses Draymond Green’s future with the team during exit interview
Other Warriors News:
- Warriors salary-cap FAQs: Can they do a sign-and-trade? What cuts would it take to get more flexibility? (The Athletic)
- Kevon Looney Talks Rebounding And What He’s Learned Playing In The Warriors System (Uproxx)
- Warriors’ two-timeline gamble after NBA championship ends in narrow loss (NBC Sports Bay Area)
- Kurtenbach: Jordan Poole is the odd man out for the Warriors — here are four trade proposals for him (Mercury News)
- Will Jordan Poole Bounce Back Next Season (Podcast P Show)
- Despite poor shooting in Game 2 loss, Lakers vow to ‘let it fly’ (ESPN)
- Where did the playoff Heat come from? Jimmy Butler always knew this run was possible: ‘Damn right I did’ (The Athletic)
- 7 Early Predictions for the 2023 NBA Draft (Bleacher Report)
- What Can the Trail Blazers Get for the 3rd Pick? (SB Nation)
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Victor Wembanyama to headline inaugural NBA Con (NBA)
A tweet to end the week:
Barely a week into the Warriors’ offseason and Giannis Antetokounmpo has already shattered the dreams of Golden State fans everywhere. Have a good weekend Dub Nation!