The Golden State Warriors managed to steal game 7 against the Sacramento Kings and they now advance to the semi-finals. Aside from Steph Curry’s heroics in the first round, one man is the unsung hero of the Warriors’ success in the 2023 playoffs. That name is no other than their starting center, Kevon Looney. With other GSW players underperforming thus far (*cough* Jordan Pool *cough*), Looney stepped up to the plate when they needed it most. Is Kevon Looney the X-factor for the Dubs in order to win this year’s championship? How crucial is Looney to the Warriors’ roster? Let’s discuss all of that, here.
Kevon Looney’s Impact on the Golden State Warriors
The reigning champions are once again pushing for another championship run. The Golden State Warriors are complete and all of their stars are healthy. But, one player emerged as the most impactful on their team, and that is not Steph Curry. Below are just some of the reasons why we think Kevon Looney is a crucial and integral part of the Golden State Warriors lineup.
Rebounding Prowess: Crashing the boards with ease
In the first round of the 2023 NBA playoffs, Kevon Looney seems to be a man on a mission. On the court, he summoned his inner Dennis Rodman with his amazing rebounding stat line. Although he does not produce so much in scoring, he is greatly contributing in other ways.
Kevon Looney with the rebounding pic.twitter.com/1gzqSVrnaA
— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) April 30, 2023
In 7 games, he has averaged 14.2 rebounds per game against the Sacramento Kings. But, that’s not what is interesting. After tallying 21 rebounds in game 7, Looney makes a historic feat of achieving 20 rebounds a night in 3 separate games, in just one playoff series. In addition to that, his rebounding was even better in the offseason than it was in the regular season. For 82 games in the regular season, Kevon Looney only averaged 9.3 RPG. That means, he already increased his rebounding averages in the playoffs by a significant amount. As the famous saying goes, “Who controls the rebound, controls the game”. Well, Kevon Looney is definitely in control of the boards.
LeBron James x Kyrie Irving pic.twitter.com/EGpPdgsWpL
— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) April 29, 2023
Reliability, Resiliency, and Durability
For two straight seasons, Kevon Looney has played all 82 games for the Golden State Warriors. This just goes to show how durable the 27-year-old center is for the Dubs.
⚡️ Played all 82 games for a second straight year
⚡️ Career year in points, rebounds, assists, steals pic.twitter.com/A5Q7AXZh0o
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) April 10, 2023
Even though he plays quality minutes and goes against the best big men in the NBA, he still managed to play every single game. In the playoffs, his reliability is a much-needed commodity, especially since the Warriors are looking to repeat.
Efficiency at its finest
If you watched NBA games, you’re going to witness how efficiently Kevon Looney plays for the Golden State Warriors. In the 2022-2023 season, he shoots 63% in the field while only accruing 0.5 turnovers per game.
Steve Kerr: “I think (Kevon) Looney is one of the best centers in the league.” pic.twitter.com/j3ODtAWFjx
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) April 30, 2023
Every night, he goes head-to-head against some of the most talented centers in the league like Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Bam Adebayo, and Rudy Gobert. But, time and time again, he has proven how well he can fair against these superstars.
Kevon Looney V.S. Domantas Sabonis: Who outplayed who?
Kevon Looney has been in charge of guarding the three-time All-Star, Domantas Sabonis. Despite being an undersized center, Looney proved he is stronger. Let’s take a look at both of their performances in the first round.
|Kevon Looney||Domantas Sabonis|
|POINTS||6.2 PPG||16.4 PPG|
|ASSISTS||4.3 APG||4.7 APG|
|REBOUNDS||14.2 RPG||11.0 RPG|
|STEALS||0.8 SPG||1.4 SPG|
|BLOCKS||0.7 BPG||0.9 BPG|
|FIELD GOAL %||53.3 %||49.5%|
Although Sabonis clearly outscored Looney, it’s evident that the Kings’ center was not his usual self. His numbers were down and Looney was beating him in the paint most of the time. He’s getting outplayed and outrebounded throughout the whole series. Obviously, Kevon Looney outplayed Domantas Sabonis in the first round.
Can Looney continue this level of play against the Los Angeles Lakers in the semi-final round?
Finally, LeBron James and Steph Curry meet again in the playoffs. However, Curry and Klay Thompson are not the Lakers’ worst nightmare. The guy manning the paint is the 27-year-old center, Kevon Looney.
Looney, who averages 14.2 rebounds a night in the first round also made a 4.5 offensive rebounds average. Without a doubt, this will become a problem for Los Angeles. If Kevon Looney continues this, even with Anthony Davis on the floor.
Do you think Kevon Looney will become a threat to the Los Angeles Lakers? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. For more content, stay with us, here at Spiel Times.
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