Kevon Looney

Warriors Notes: Poole, Wiggins, Klay, Lesser-Paid Players

At 29-7, the Warriors have the best record in the NBA, a half-game ahead of the Suns. One key to the team’s success this season has been the maturation and development of third-year guard Jordan Poole, who’s being groomed to become Golden State’s new sixth man, as Anthony Slater and Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic detail.

Poole’s situation on the club is unique, in that he’s the only young player to have a consistent rotational role. He describes the dynamic as being akin to a middle-child.

The dynamic is what you see,” Poole said. “I’m not the youngest. I’ve been around for a little bit, but I’m kind of like the only one in the middle of the pack. The older bros have been through it. Sometimes we’re gonna throw you with the young guys, sometimes you can come with us. Essentially, it’s the middle-child treatment.”

Slater and Thompson write that Poole is known for having an excellent work ethic; the Warriors have data showing he’s in the gym more than any player on the team. Veteran Andre Iguodala, the team’s former sixth man, has taken Poole under his wing. As a third-year former first-round pick (28th overall in the 2019 draft), Poole is eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer.

The new sixth man is getting $20 million a year,” Iguodala said. “That’s the bottom offer for a guy like that, the Tyler Herros and Jordan Pooles. You got those few guys who are starters but for teams they are on, they’re sixth men. You don’t have a problem with going above and beyond taking care of them because you know they’ll be a staple player for your franchise.”

In 30 games (28 starts) this season, Poole is averaging 18.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists in 30.1 minutes per contest. He also sports a .454/.348/.887 shooting line, good for a 59.3 true shooting percentage.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

Western Notes: Looney, Kerr, Lue, Williams, Cousins

Kevon Looney will be an unrestricted free agent after this season and thus far, he’s enhanced his résumé. Head coach Steve Kerr said the Warriors’ big man is underappreciated and that his contributions go far beyond stats, Mark Medina of tweets. “Looney is playing fantastic basketball,” Kerr said. “He’s totally underrated. He’ll never get the credit he deserves.” Looney, an afterthought in the offensive scheme, is averaging 5.5 PPG and 6.6 RPG.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Kerr and Clippers coach Tyronn Lue have a mutual admiration, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register tweets. Lue says he hears from Kerr often. “He’s always checking up on me … very positive, motivating guy,” Lue said. “I don’t cheer for too many guys, but I do cheer for Steve… a genuine good person. He is one of my friends in coaching, which is pretty rare, for me.”
  • Thunder forward Kenrich Williams is dealing with an ankle injury suffered in Friday’s loss to Washington, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman tweets. Williams, who is averaging 6.8 PPG, has been ruled out of Monday’s game against Houston.
  • The Nuggets, who have been decimated by injuries, worked out DeMarcus Cousins last week, Marc Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated tweets. Cousins opted to sign a non-guaranteed deal with Bucks. Nikola Jokic has been dealing with a wrist injury and JaMychal Green is his primary backup.

Warriors Notes: Poole, Wiggins, Looney, Iguodala

It was just one preseason game, but Jordan Poole‘s performance on Monday vs. Portland was an incredibly positive sign for the Warriors, writes Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area. Poole racked up 30 points – including seven 3-pointers – in just 22 minutes of action.

“This is what he’s looked like in camp,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “Not hesitating, he’s getting to the rim, playing with an unbelievable confidence … He’s earned that confidence.”

As Marcus Thompson of The Athletic writes, the Warriors explored potential trades for stars during the offseason and ultimately didn’t make a move. While Golden State isn’t expecting Poole to become an All-Star, there’s a ton of confidence within the organization that he’s poised to make a major leap and could potentially become the sort of complementary impact player the team sought on the trade market.

“He’s one of our best players,” Kerr said, per Andrews. “I think what we have to determine is how he holds up defensively with the different lineups he’s playing with. But you got a guy that explosive, you got to get him on the floor.”

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Although Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins ultimately agreed to be vaccinated, he made it clear this week that he did so reluctantly, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Wiggins, who said he’s the only person in his family to receive the vaccine, expressed concerns about possible long-term effects, but felt as if he had no choice but to get vaccinated. “The only options were to get vaccinated or not play in the NBA,” Wiggins said on Monday. “It was a tough decision. Hopefully, it works out in the long run and in 10 years I’m still healthy.”
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic isn’t expecting a big bounce-back season from the Warriors, projecting them to finish ninth in the West with a 39-43 record. Within his season preview, Hollinger also explores Golden State’s tax situation, speculating that a Kevon Looney trade could be something the team considers during the season in order to reduce its year-end bill.
  • Andre Iguodala was an important part of the Warriors’ title teams in 2015, 2017, and 2018, but he’ll turn 38 this season, so it’s unclear how much he’ll contribute to this year’s team, writes Kendra Andrews of NBC Bay Area. Even if they don’t get much out of Iguodala on the court, the Dubs will benefit from having his voice in the locker room, Andrews adds.

Warriors Notes: Green, Centers, Front Office, Mulder

Draymond Green missed the Warriors‘ Media Day on Monday and the first two days of the club’s training camp for personal reasons, but he returned on Thursday from his excused absence, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

As Slater details in an Athletic story, it’ll be Kevon Looney who starts at center for the Warriors this season, but the expectation is that Green will play plenty of minutes at the five. Golden State didn’t prioritize adding more traditional big men this offseason and doesn’t play to use them regularly, according to Slater, who predicts we’ll see a ton of small lineups from the club in 2021/22.

“The league feels different to me than five, six years ago,” Kerr said. “There are more and more small lineups out there. Every team has more shooting, so you have to cover more ground, which is something Draymond is really good at. Then when we’re on offense, we want to have more shooting, so putting him at five, having him run pick-and-roll with Steph and shooters around them, that’s tough to guard.”

As Slater points out, the equation will change a little for the Warriors when James Wiseman gets healthy and is ready to return to the lineup, but the club is planning to be cautious and patient with the youngster’s recovery process. Wiseman could get some rehab work in at the G League level before he plays in the NBA and is unlikely to have a huge role when he returns to action, Slater adds.

Here’s more on the Dubs:

  • The Warriors announced a wide range of front office promotions and additions today, including naming Mike Dunleavy Jr. as their vice president, basketball operations and Zaza Pachulia as a liaison, basketball and business. The full list of updates to the basketball operations department can be found in the team’s press release.
  • Battling against several other players for the 15th spot on the Warriors’ roster, Mychal Mulder faces an uphill climb to make the team after appearing in 60 games for Golden State last season, writes Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area.
  • Tim Kawakami of The Athletic believes Golden State is confident that Andrew Wiggins will ultimately get vaccinated, noting that the Warriors aren’t acting with the sort of urgency you’d expect if they were preparing to be without a starting forward for 41 games.

Kevon Looney Opting In For 2021/22 Season

Warriors big man Kevon Looney is picking up his $5.1MM option for next season, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The 25-year-old averaged 4.1 points and 5.3 rebounds this season as a part-time starter. He split time in the starting lineup with rookie center James Wiseman and took over the job after Wiseman was injured in April.

Looney has spent six years with Golden State after being taken with the 30th pick in the 2015 draft. He’s a 56.6% shooter from the floor in his career and played significant minutes on the Warriors teams that reached the NBA Finals for five straight seasons.

Looney’s player option was the only one facing the team for 2021/22.

Warriors Notes: Wiseman, Center, Oubre, Curry

Asked on Monday about James Wiseman‘s status, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said the team was still getting “multiple opinions” on the rookie’s right knee injury. Reports on Sunday suggested Wiseman may miss the rest of the season due to a torn meniscus, but Kerr suggested last night that no decisions have been made yet.

“He had an MRI and so we’re having multiple experts look at the MRI to determine what’s next,” Kerr said, per Nick Friedell of ESPN. “We don’t have any timetable yet. The biggest thing is making sure James is OK. He’s obviously had a lot of adversity this rookie season, with the wrist injury, now the knee injury and of course missing training camp, not having a summer league. He’s really gutted through a lot of difficulty. … And so this is yet another obstacle that’s been put in front of him.”

Here are a few more notes on the Warriors:

  • Kevon Looney will replace Wiseman in Golden State’s lineup, and Kerr acknowledged on Monday that the team will consider adding another center to its roster before the end of the season, Friedell writes. “We’re obviously very thin in the frontcourt,” Kerr said. “That’s obviously something that we will be looking at as we go forward and once we get word on what James’ prognosis is.” The Warriors currently have one open spot on their 15-man roster and could create a second if they don’t re-sign Gary Payton II when his 10-day deal expires.
  • Within the same ESPN story, Friedell notes that Kelly Oubre remains day-to-day with the wrist injury that sidelined him on Saturday and Monday. “I talked to him (on Monday), he said he’s feeling better,” Kerr said. “So I don’t think this will be a long absence, but we’ll just continue to say day-to-day.”
  • Stephen Curry passed Wilt Chamberlain on Monday night to become the all-time leading scorer in Warriors history. With that in mind, Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic explores what Curry and Chamberlain have meant to the Warriors and how both stars changed the game of basketball.

Pacific Notes: Holmes, Looney, D. Jones, Clippers

In case the Kings are thinking about moving impending free agent Richaun Holmes before Thursday’s trade deadline, Holmes is making sure the organization knows where his loyalties lie, writes James Ham of NBC Sports California. After posting 25 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in Friday’s win at Boston, Holmes spoke of his fondness for the team.

I can’t say enough how much I love this city, love these fans, love my teammates, love stepping out there in Sacramento in my jersey representing this city,” he said. “It’s been some of the best times of my life.”

Holmes seemed like an under-the-radar signing when he joined the Kings in 2019, but he quickly became the team’s starting center. He’s averaging career highs in points (14.0), rebounds (8.7) and assists (1.3) this season and is leading the league in field goal percentage at 65.1%. He’s in line for a substantial raise this summer after making $5MM this year.

“The preparation has met the opportunity and hopefully I can keep getting better and keep making big plays for this team,” Holmes said.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Warriors center Kevon Looney has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols and won’t play in tonight’s game, according to Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle. The team isn’t sure how long Looney will be out of action, but players in the protocols usually have to sit out seven days, which would cause him to miss four games. With James Wiseman and Eric Paschall already in the protocols and Marquese Chriss out for the rest of the season with a broken leg, Golden State won’t have a true center in its lineup.
  • The Lakers haven’t announced a decision yet on center Damian Jones, whose second 10-day contract expires today, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Players are limited to two 10-day deals with the same team in one season, so L.A. would have to sign Jones for the rest of the season to keep him on the roster. “No decision has been made on that,” coach Frank Vogel said, “but he’s played well and we’ll see where that goes.” Jones has started five of the seven games he has played for the Lakers and is averaging 5.6 points and 2.4 rebounds per night.
  • Ben Golliver of The Washington Post explains why the Clippers may be the contender most in need a significant move by the trade deadline.

Pacific Notes: GRIII, Lakers, Whiteside, George, Warriors

Glenn Robinson III, who is currently away from the Kings for personal reasons, may not return to the team, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Robinson’s salary for 2020/21 is non-guaranteed, and teams must waive players on non-guaranteed contracts today in order to avoid taking on their full-season cap hits.

According to Anderson, Robinson is believed to be anticipating his release, but the Kings hadn’t communicated their intentions as of Tuesday night.

As Anderson explains, the situation is somewhat complicated by the fact that Robinson is dealing with a knee injury. A team that waives an injured player who is on a non-guaranteed deal must continue paying him until he’s healthy enough to return or until his contract expires, whichever comes first. Robinson’s knee issue doesn’t appear serious, but it will be a factor for the Kings to consider as they mull their options.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Jovan Buha of The Athletic explores how waiving Quinn Cook gives the Lakers even more options on the buyout market, while Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times identify Kings center Hassan Whiteside as one frontcourt player the team could pursue either via trade or buyout.
  • Clippers forward Paul George was pleased to earn All-Star honors, but is among the players who don’t believe the game should be played at all this season, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN details. George told reporters that he was fined earlier in the season for having a teammate over to his house, which is one reason why he questions the decision to bring 24 players from all over the league to Atlanta for the All-Star Game.
  • The return of Stephen Curry (37 points) made the biggest impact in the Warriors‘ win over New York on Tuesday, but head coach Steve Kerr was also pleased to have centers James Wiseman and Kevon Looney available again, telling reporters that Wiseman looked “great” and that Looney “makes the game easier for everybody else” (link via Nick Friedell of ESPN). Wiseman missed 11 games with a wrist injury, while Looney was out for 10 games due to an ankle sprain.

Pacific Notes: Curry, Wiseman, Looney, Cousins, Lakers, Robinson

The Warriors could have most of the regulars back in action on Tuesday against the Knicks. Stephen Curry missed Saturday’s loss to Charlotte but practiced on Monday and is expected to play Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. Coach Steve Kerr also indicated big men James Wiseman and Kevon Looney could play after participating in the practice. Looney has been out since February 2 with an ankle sprain. Wiseman, the No. 2 pick in the draft, has been sidelined since January 30 with a wrist injury.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Executives whom Sean Deveney spoke to believe that DeMarcus Cousins would be a bad fit for the Lakers. Cousins is being held out of action as Houston seeks to deal him. Cousins hasn’t shot it well this season and his diminished mobility makes him a liability on defense. The team also has limited salary available to add another player.
  • The absences of Anthony Davis and Dennis Schröder are taking a toll on the Lakers and the schedule isn’t helping, Jovan Buha of The Athletic notes. They had lost two straight heading into Monday’s game against Washington while struggling to find offensive answers. They also play four teams with winning records before the All-Star break.
  • Kings swingman Glenn Robinson III is not currently with the team due to personal reasons, James Ham of NBC Sports California tweets. Robinson has appeared in 23 games, averaging 5.3 PPG in 16.0 MPG. Sacramento must decide this week whether to fully guarantee Robinson’s $2MM contract.

California Notes: Looney, Wiseman, Lakers, Santa Cruz Warriors

Warriors center Kevon Looney, sidelined since spraining his left ankle in a February 2 loss to the Celtics, has rejoined the Warriors for “segments of practice” and is planning on suiting up with the club during Golden State’s impending road trip, per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link).

Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle details the import of the big man’s return to the lineup in a new piece. “I always joked that I never hurt my ankle,” Looney said after incurring the injury. “I guess karma caught up with me.”

There’s more out of California:

  • Warriors rookie center James Wiseman, out with a left wrist injury suffered on January 30,  rejoined Golden State for practice on Tuesday, according to Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area. The No. 2 overall draft pick out of Memphis, Wiseman has a chance to return to the court for the Warriors as soon as Friday against a depleted Magic team. “With a sprained wrist you don’t know if it will be one week, two weeks or three, so I’m just following each procedure, but there are no setbacks,” Wiseman said.
  • The Lakers are seeing their frontcourt depth tested with the extended absence of All-Star power forward/center Anthony Davis, according to Bill Oram of The Athletic. Kyle Kuzma has taken over starting duties, and reigning Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell is seeing expanded minutes as a super-sub. Starting center Marc Gasol and reserve power forward Markieff Morris have also seen more run in the rotation.
  • spoke to Santa Cruz Warriors broadcaster Kevin Dana about how Golden State’s G League affiliate team is adjusting to life in the 2021 NBAGL Orlando “bubble.” Dana lauded the output thus far of young prospects Nico Mannion and Jordan Poole.