Kevon Looney is extremely important to the Warriors, and Thursday night's season-opening 141-122 loss against the Clippers showed why.
In 10 first-half minutes, the 23-year-old grabbed nine rebounds (five offensive), hit a corner 3-pointer and was a presence on the defensive end.
After falling behind 14-0, Golden State stabilized things and trailed by only 11 points at the half.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, Looney never returned to the floor (right hamstring tightness) and the wheels soon came off.
The Clippers outscored the Dubs 46-33 in the third quarter, as big men Marquese Chriss and Omari Spellman struggled to bring any kind of force.
“That obviously hurt us,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters after the loss. “Looney did a great job in the first half and defensively, without him, we really struggled.”
Looney's hamstring issue is a major concern, as this is the kind of thing that can linger.
In late September, he told Anthony Slater of The Athletic that he had only been cleared for 5-on-5 a couple weeks prior, meaning he was behind on his conditioning.
Then after practice Tuesday, Looney revealed that he initially tweaked his hamstring during a workout a couple of weeks before training camp opened.
So did he ever really get in any 5-on-5 action before the Warriors' first practice of the season Oct. 1? Sure enough, he aggravated the injury Oct. 2 and missed all five preseason games.
The Warriors play in Oklahoma City on Sunday and in New Orleans on Monday, and it's unclear if Looney will suit up for either game of the back-to-back.
Get well, Kevon. Your team needs you.