Kevon Looney (5) has looked like a totally different player for the Golden State Warriors this season. (Mira Laing/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Kevon Looney (5) has looked like a totally different player for the Golden State Warriors this season. (Mira Laing/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Rise of Warriors’ young big men leads to unexpected dilemma for Steve Kerr

OAKLAND — Steve Kerr finds himself confronting an unusual problem in the hours before every Golden State Warriors game.

Simply put, Kerr has too many good Warriors and not enough spots to keep all his players active on any given night.

The frontcourt, featuring Zaza Pachulia, David West, JaVale McGee, Jordan Bell and Kevon Looney — not to mention G-League Warrior Damian Jones — is especially crowded.

To resolve the roster jam, Kerr has, on occasion, inactivated both Bell and Looney, even though the pair of bigs have impressed the boss in the opening weeks of 2017.

Bell, the rookie out of Oregon, has already made his name thanks to his penchant for delivering spectacular dunks.

Kerr knows there’s still plenty more to learn for the 22-year-old ex-Oregon Duck, who has elbowed his way into the rotation.

“You see his physical ability,” Kerr said after Tuesday’s practice. “What you probably don’t see is on film, there’s just the little details that he’s still learning.”

In Monday night’s 97-80 win over the Miami Heat, Kerr was able to carve out 12 minutes for Bell as West was off for rest.

“Last night was probably his best effort in terms of all the fundamentals we drill into him every day,” Kerr said. “So I’m really excited about Jordan’s development and how he’s performing for us.”

Looney, who’s in his third season but is actually 11 months younger than Bell, played a season-high 17-minutes. He’s been fighting a hip injury since he was drafted.

“He literally has not been physically capable of providing what he did [against the Heat],” Kerr said. “So, more than anything, I’m really happy for him.”

The 6-foot-9 Looney delivered three blocks, tied with Kevin Durant for the game high.

“You can see the impact he can make on our defense,” Kerr said. “I mean, he is long.”

The emergence of Bell and Jordan has also had a positive impact on Draymond Green, allowing Kerr to refrain from using the club’s defensive general at the center spot with as much frequency as a season ago.

“Jordan and Loon, those guys can switch and do all those things as well,” Green said. “So, if there’s maybe a situation where it’s not quite the best matchup for our big, [they can help].”

kbuscheck@sfexaminer.comDraymond GreenGolden State Warriorsjordan bellKevon LooneyKlay ThompsonNBAStephen CurrySteve Kerr

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A Recology employee stands at the comapany’s recycling facility on Pier 96 in 2016. (Jessica Christian/2016 S.F. Examiner)
Nuru scandal: Feds charge second former Recology executive with bribery

Federal authorities have charged a second former Recology executive in connection with… Continue reading

Talika Fletcher, sister of Roger Allen, is consoled at a vigil to honor her brother, who was killed by Daly City Police on April 7, on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Supporters march for SF man killed by Daly City police

Struggle over fake gun ends in shooting of 44-year-old Roger Allen, DA says

Syd Mandelbaum created the home run tracker, which revolutionized statistics in major league sports. (Courtesy photo)
Home run tracker, with roots at Candlestick Park, marks 30 years

When Giants first baseman Brandon Belt slugged a solo home run in… Continue reading

Curfews on indoor dining have been lifted as The City continues to reopen business. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City to allow expanded indoor dining, limited indoor concerts and small conferences

With new COVID-19 cases remaining stable, San Francisco will continue to expand… Continue reading

Johnny Cueto P was the starting pitcher for the San Francisco Giants against the Cinnanti Reds, Wednesday. (Sebastian Miño-Bucheli/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Cueto leaves with injury as Giants take series from Reds

A latissimus dorsi injury to Johnny Cueto cast a dark cloud over… Continue reading

Most Read