Golden State Warriors center Kevon Looney, now in his second season of a team-friendly three-year, $22.5 million contract, is considering a potential shift to a bench role. This comes in the wake of the team’s acquisition of future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul, shortly after Looney secured his third NBA title with the Warriors in the summer of 2022.
While Looney has primarily been a starting five player, the versatility of his contract makes it a relatively fair deal for a backup. He expressed his readiness for this potential adjustment in a recent interview with Mark Medina of Sportskeeda.
“My role is always subject to change since I’ve been here,” Looney said. “Sometimes I start. Sometimes I come off the bench. Sometimes I start the game. Sometimes I close the game. It doesn’t really matter. I’ll try to play my role to the best of my ability. I know I’ll get my minutes. I have to be effective with the minutes that I get. I haven’t thought about it. Steve said he’s going to talk to us to keep us all updated about our role and what’s going to happen. But I’ll prepare for whatever.”
Looney’s journey to the NBA started when the Golden State Warriors selected him with the 30th pick in the 2015 draft, following a standout season at UCLA, where he earned honors like All-Pac-12 Second-Team and Pac-12 All-Freshman Team. Despite his limited college experience, Looney maintains strong ties to UCLA and continues to participate in offseason workouts at the Pauley Pavilion, a popular summer training location for NBA players.
“The highlight of my summer is always playing at UCLA. Going to China with [Warriors teammate] Klay [Thompson] for the first time was pretty dope. It was a crazy experience. I got to go to Milan with the players union. But other than that, I was at UCLA training and hosting my camp in Milwaukee. That’s always fun to do my camp in my eighth year. I played with the kids and did stuff like that. That was pretty cool.”
One of Looney’s notable strengths has been his prowess in the paint, particularly evident during the 2023 playoffs, where he averaged an impressive 13.1 rebounds, significantly surpassing his previous postseason averages. His seamless integration into the Golden State Warriors’ system has made him an invaluable, unselfish asset to the team.
“I was playing the young Detroit team. They had their whole team in there pretty much. The Clippers brought their guys in. The Bucks were in there. So were the Lakers and Raptors. Everybody was in there. So to see all young guys and their development and see how they start from the beginning of summer to end of summer, you see how much better they’re getting, it was pretty cool to see.”
In contrast, Chris Paul, known for his ball-handling skills, faces challenges fitting alongside Warriors’ mainstays Stephen Curry and Draymond Green. Although Paul might start the season in a super small-ball lineup, Looney is expected to secure a prominent role in the Warriors’ starting lineup as the season progresses.
As the NBA season unfolds, the potential bench role for Kevon Looney will remain a topic of interest among Golden State Warriors fans and analysts alike.
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