Why Wiseman would also beat Warriors who would re-sign Looney? originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
SAN FRANCISCO — The likely return and possible loss of Kevon Looney goes hand in hand with the start of James Wiseman’s Warriors career and the development of the young centre. Looney signed a $14.5 million three-year deal in July 2019 to remain with the Warriors. A year later, Golden State selected Wiseman, a 7-footer from Memphis with the #2 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Now Looney has to sign again Top priority for Warriors this off season† All signs point to this being done on a multi-year contract.
That would also be a win-win-win situation. A win for the Warriors, a win for Looney and yes, a win for Wiseman too.
Wiseman has played just 45 basketball games since November 5, 2019 — his college debut. He played just three games in college due to NCAA violations, his rookie season was shortened to 39 games after sustaining a torn meniscus, and the only game action he saw last season was three games in the G League before he was retired. shut down by swelling in that same right knee. Since the Warriors called him up, Wiseman has not been part of a training camp and has not played any summer league games.
Last season, he sat on the sidelines in streetwear as the Warriors won another championship. But he also had his eyes on Example A of perseverance and understanding of the ins and outs of the Warriors system.
“James has spent much of this year watching Loon, watching his tape and asking him questions,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr when I asked him about Looney’s influence on Wiseman when I met with him after the season on June 22. reporters spoke. They are very different players, as you said, but they play in the same position.
“What makes Loon so great is the nuance in his playing. He knows how to set the right screen at the right time for [Steph Curry] and [Klay Thompson], and he knows when to roll and he knows when to dive to the brink, when to sack when Steph gets flashed. He knows how to take the weak side out of the double team.
“This doesn’t just happen. He worked on it. He never played the first two years of Loon. He was also injured, just like James. There can be no better mentor for James than Loon.”
Looney only played five games as a rookie due to a torn labrum in his right hip. The season before the Warriors drafted Wiseman, Looney was held back to 20 games for a handful of reasons: neuropathy, left abdominal pain, and left hip pain. The former first-round voter himself has never been questioned because of his work ethic. However, revamping his training and diet has done wonders for him.
In Wiseman’s rookie season, Looney played 61 games. He set a goal to play in all 82 regular season games for the past season and became the only Warrior to do so. Looney was one of five players in the NBA to reach that goal, and he went on to play 104 games, including the playoffs, with 93 starts.
The nuances in play, knowing when and where to set the perfect screen and the ability to get out of the post to one of the Warriors sharpshooters is where Looney is now on a different planet from the raw and gifted Wiseman. When the Warriors fielded the Looney, the 6-foot-9 UCLA product was not seen as a center by most. Many saw him as a future powerhouse, and some even envisioned him as a more minor forward role on the next level.
After seven seasons as a pro and three titles to his name, Looney is now a versatile center in a non-traditional sense. One that Wiseman can complement perfectly.
During his rookie year, Wiseman sometimes looked like a lost giraffe – trying to find his way in an unfamiliar environment with his long limbs going in all directions. He has the natural size and athleticism to be a rim runner and lob threat. The lefty has a smooth enough firing motion to be an outside threat from deep in the road. And in the three G League games he played in, Wiseman relied more on establishing himself as someone bigger and stronger than his competition.
His movements and touch down there need to improve. Like his hands, his bounce back and stay out of trouble. As a rookie, Wiseman achieved double-digit rebounds only three times and went out on dirt four times.
Over the past season, and especially in the playoffs, Looney became an elite rebounder. The veteran’s ability to keep the offensive alive was tremendous. Wiseman appears to be healthy and on track to appear in league games over the summer at some point. Kerr knows he can score points. Aside from staying healthy, he wants to see Wiseman’s defensive mindset show up on the floor.
That’s the side of the ball that Kerr still believes Wiseman can be an absolute difference maker as he continues to develop his overall game.
“I think defensive recognition, of patterns and rebounds, that’s what we can use the most from him,” Kerr said. “Going forward, with his talent, with his size and athleticism, there’s no reason why he can’t be a dominant defensive player in the league. But it takes a lot of reps. It takes a lot of recognition. It takes a lot. .” from being on the court with nine other people, not just in a one-on-one workout or in the weight room.
“Hopefully — knock on wood — hopefully he’ll get well and start putting those reps together and develop into a great defensive center. That would be the idea. You see how gifted he is in attack. He’s a lob threat. He’s a good marksman. It’s all there for him.”
Of all the ups and downs, Looney has earned his next paycheck – one that will be his biggest in the NBA yet. The long-term future of the mid-position for the Warriors is still in the hands of 21-year-old Wiseman, if all goes well. That’s another big if. In the current and coming years, there’s no reason their skills can’t bring another two-timeline win for the Warriors. With Looney in the fold, Wiseman’s pressure is off, while the focus on his development still gets the necessary attention.
Bringing Looney back isn’t just at the top of the Warriors’ to-do list. It’s a win for him, the team and the man who watched every move from the bench before celebrating a championship with him.