Warriors’ run showed how Kevon Looney could help Raptors
DALLAS, TX – MARCH 3: Kevon Looney #5 of the Golden State Warriors (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
The Toronto Raptors were likely keeping an eye on the 2021-22 NBA postseason with the intent of finding someone that could be a free agent acquisition once the offseason officially starts. The Golden State Warriors have leaned on center Kevon Looney in the paint during these playoffs, which could get Masai Ujiri interested.
Though Golden State appeared to be ready to transition to James Wiseman, a season-ending injury to the former No. 2 overall pick before the year started forced Looney back into the lineup. Despite the fact he has a lower offensive ceiling, Looney is just as effective in helping the Warriors win games.
The Raptors tried to sign Khem Birch to a three-year contract to fill the same role Looney is occupying, but injuries and generally poor performance have made it even more pressing for Toronto to add a center that could solidify their interior defense. Looney proved that he could last in Toronto beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Looney recorded 10 points and 18 rebounds in a clinching victory that pushed Golden State to their Sixth NBA Finals in the last eight seasons. A reliable role player who could be brought in without completely sinking all of Toronto’s cap space, Looney should be very high on Toronto’s offseason big board.
Multiple efforts ⚡
Kevon Looney puts in work on the glass and Bjelica makes it count with a triple!
Live Now on TNT pic.twitter.com/MDOMvBxckJ
— NBA (@NBA) May 27, 2022
In the regular season, Looney averaged 6.0 points and 7.3 rebounds while consistently harassing elite big men with high-octane defense. All this Golden State offense needs from their centers are intense defense, hustle on the boards, and dunker spot finishing. Those three traits define Looney’s game.
Looney has been putting up some iffy offensive numbers, but what else could you expect when you’ve had Steph Curry and Klay Thompson on the floor for your whole career? Where is the volume supposed to come from? The fact that Looney has constantly evolved his game to suit Golden State’s short-term needs is extremely impressive.
Looney’s 18-rebound double-double helped him put up numbers that haven’t been reached since Kevin Garnett. Even though he’s not going to be an offensive force, he’s the type of role player that Nick Nurse has typically had a ton of success with.
Kevon Looney in Game 5:
10 PTS18 REB4 AST0 TO
In the 3-point era, only 1 other player in Western Conference Finals history has recorded those numbers: Kevin Garnett
— Calvin Fong (@CalFongNBA) May 27, 2022
Looney could easily leave Golden State in the offseason, as the Wiseman succession plan is already in place and the Warriors’ front office doesn’t have a ton of flexibility. Toronto could benefit from Looney’s change of scenery, adding a key bench standout without paying an arm and a leg.