Steph, Kerr praises Looney’s leadership in light of fluctuating role

NBC Sports Bay Area

Warriors’ three-time champion and center Kevon Looney recently has seen his minutes decrease due to the rise of rookie big man Trayce Jackson-Davis. 

However, the veteran’s fluctuating minutes haven’t flustered his morale, as Looney demonstrates unwavering leadership.  

After the Warriors’ 126-106 win over the Portland Trailblazers on Saturday night at Chase Center, Looney earned high praise from his longtime teammate and coach regarding his character.

“Whether it’s a regular-season game or the playoff runs we’ve had,” Steph Curry told reporters postgame. “I mean, one, it’s [Looney’s] availability. He’s always preparing himself to be out there and play physically, give us that presence in the paint. He’s a smart basketball player who understands how to move the ball, how to set great screens. 

“Don’t let anyone take for granted what Loon does. If you know basketball, those little things in the margins help you win on a consistent basis.”

The UCLA product’s consistency and versatility only add to his leadership qualities, as Curry emphasized after Golden State’s win over Portland.

Looney has been a reliable piece of Golden State’s dynasty since being selected by the Warriors with the 30th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. 

Even with reduced minutes, Looney remained available, posting six points, seven assists and 11 boards in just 22 minutes against the Blazers.

“The vibe is good,” Kerr explained to reporters after the Warriors’ win. “We have a lot of leadership in the locker room. The guy I want to point out is Kevon. The last four games or so haven’t gone his way at all. Trayce [Jackson-Davis] has played so well, so a lot of Loon’s minutes have gone to Trayce. And every single night, every day at practice, [Kevon’s] a rock, he’s leading. He’s been great on the bench, advising guys, giving advice during timeouts, and cheering them on when they’re playing well.

“I think the true definition of a leader is someone who leads when things aren’t going well for himself. That’s what makes Loon so special, that’s who he is. And then you just know things are going to turn back around like they did tonight. Totally professional, kind of an old soul, a lot of wisdom, steady as they come. So, we’re lucky to have Loon.”

While Jackson-Davis has fought his way into Kerr’s crowded rotation, Looney has remained professional. 

During a time when the Warriors are down Draymond Green indefinitely due to suspension, Looney remains a voice of reason and an outlet for consistency. 

Looney is appreciated in Golden State’s locker room and has been a vital part of the Warriors’ five-game win streak.

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