It was viewed as a coup for the Warriors when they were able to re-sign Kevon Looney to a three-year, $15MM contract this past summer, but the big man hasn’t been himself yet this season and received a DNP-CD on Wednesday night.
Looney, who spent much of the offseason recovering from the effects of a collarbone injury suffered in the NBA Finals, has also dealt with a neuropathic condition. His health issues have limited him to just eight games so far this season, and Kerr cited those problems when he explained his decision not to play the 23-year-old on Wednesday, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic details.
“It’s hard to play 12 guys,” Kerr said. “And Looney is struggling to get his game back right now. … We’ve tried to help him play back into condition, but it’s not really fair to him or the team until he’s really in a better place physically.”
Kerr said that the Warriors still view Looney as “one of our foundational players” and that he’s counting on the young center to eventually get healthy and get his conditioning back up to speed. According to Kerr, this season is more about developing young prospects and evaluating players whose place in the club’s long-term future may not be assured, which is why he’s comfortable being patient with Looney.
Here’s more on the Warriors:
- Despite Kerr’s insistence that he’s not concerned about Looney, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area believes it may be time to sound the alarm, since there’s no guarantee the effects of neuropathy won’t continue to limit the big man.
- Warriors rookie Alen Smailagic will “100 percent” make his NBA debut at some point this season, Kerr told reporters on Wednesday, per Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area. However, it remains to be seen when that will happen, since the club wants Smailagic to continue playing big minutes for the Santa Cruz Warriors in the G League rather than seeing sporadic playing time at the NBA level.
- While getting Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson back will be the key to the Warriors’ bounce-back hopes in 2020/21, continued improvements from Eric Paschall will also be an important factor if the club wants to return to contending status, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes in an in-depth look at the rookie forward.