Warriors big man Kevon Looney is pacing for career highs in points (7.0), rebounds (9.1) and assists (2.5) through 62 games this season.
The 27-year-old has solidified himself in Golden State's rotation, averaging a career-high 23.4 minutes per game in his eighth NBA season, and his improvements haven't gone unnoticed by Warriors president of basketball operations and general manager Bob Myers.
"I can't sit here and say Looney is our best player, but I can say how great he's been this year and how much we've had to lean on him and how solid he's been and how much he's improved," Myers said Wednesday on 95.7 The Game's "Steiny & Guru." "He keeps improving every year. His finishing has been great this year. His rebounding is elite; it always has been ...
"I think if you're talking about who we have been able to lean on and who's been healthy, he's been fantastic. He really has. And he deserves it. And he's kind of taken the tortoise route to where he's at. A lot of people want success immediately. Looney's had to grind it out every year. But he absolutely, I think, not that he didn't have before, the respect of his peers [and] the respect of his teammates has never been higher. And he's been really good."
Warriors coach Steve Kerr joined Myers in praising Looney's uptick in production, especially in the past two seasons, when he's been a different player.
"I think the last two years, he has just gotten so much better on the glass and finishing on offensive rebounds," Kerr said Wednesday on KNBR 680's "Tolbert & Kolsky." "[Looney] just figured out the footwork that it takes to get around a shot blocker, use his body to shield the shot blocker, so his numbers are better than they've ever been.
"But it's not a coincidence, [with] the work he puts in. It's the progression of years and years of all that work and the continuity that comes with being with one team and one set of teammates."
Looney was drafted 30th overall in 2015, and it's been a slow progression to where he is now. As a result, Kerr believes the UCLA product is a perfect example for the Warriors' young players.
"Loon is just the ideal guy to show young players like, 'Hey, it took him several years to make an impact,' " Kerr continued. "So be patient but work. That's what I tell our young guys. You got to find this balance between urgency and patience. You got to work urgently, but you got to remain patient. And that's what Loon did, and he's being rewarded for it, and so are we. He's just so important to our team."
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Looney hopes his more significant role will help the Warriors head toward the NBA playoffs and repeat as champions.