Warriors

Warriors

SAN FRANCISCO -- Warriors center Willie Cauley Stein has been playing on a battered Golden State roster for much of the season, playing with just eight active players on some nights.  

Now, with Kevon Looney and Draymond Green expected to return in the next week, the fifth-year big man is excited for the additions to the roster. 

"It gives us another layer of geniusness," Cauley-Stein said Monday morning.

While Green's sore heel has him questionable for Monday's matchup against the Thunder, Looney's injury is more complicated. In a season-opening loss to the Clippers, the big man aggravated a hamstring injury caused by a neuropathic condition. While Looney has been out, the Warriors have given up more than 117 points per game.

Though Looney hasn't filled the box score during his Warriors' tenure, he's become an invaluable piece alongside Golden State's All-Star core. In the playoffs last season, the team posted a 108.1 defensive rating while he was on the floor, a number that ballooned to 112.0 when he moved to the bench. 

"He's always been on the scouting report," Cauley-Stein said. "He comes in, he's going to give you real solid minutes so he's going to give you rebounds, he's going to give you points, he's going to give you the steals, the blocked shots, he's going to be an all-around player." 

Green and Looney's pending returns come as the team is needing bodies. On the NBA's most recent injury report, seven players are listed as inactive for Monday's game. In Friday's loss to Utah, the Warriors suited up just eight players. 

 

"It's going to be good," Cauley-Stein said. "It's tough having three subs and two of them are bigs. We're doing a really good job of pushing through and still building despite the loss of guys. 

"When [Kevon] and Draymond get back, you have a lot of roaming opportunities to try to get steals, blocked shots and create havoc."

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As the Warriors wait for Green and Looney to return, they'll have to contend with Oklahoma City center Steven Adams. The 6-foot-11 big man is averaging nine rebounds against the Warriors this season entering Monday's matchup, giving Golden State's frontline a more-than-formidable challenge. 

"He's got so many different tricks," Cauley-Stein said. "You've got to really hone in on just blocking him out and canceling yourself out for the rebound. I fully come into the game, like I don't care if I get one board. It's always, he don't get that board.

"You got to damn near need to put two bodies on them and then somebody else got to come get it," he added. "It's almost virtually impossible to block him out and go jump with the ball."