Kevon Looney provides role model for Atlanta Hawks big man


The Golden State Warriors are a team built around their superstar core. They have the formidable shooting of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to go along with the scoring prowess of Andrew Wiggins. Likewise, the Atlanta Hawks have the backcourt couple of Trae young and Kevin Huerter as well as the shooting prowess of Bogdan Bogdanovic.

The opposition tends to defend these star guards, which is justified given the amount of offense created by these guards. However, how far a team gets in the NBA isn’t just based on their stars, it’s based on the rest of the roster and how well they are able to take the pressure off their star teammates.

Looney has stepped up in a major way over the past four games, all of which have been wins for the Warriors. He had the series closing game against the Memphis Grizzlies where he had 22 rebounds, 11 offensive and 11 defensive. He also had the 21-point double-double in the return game against the Dallas Mavericks. However, his most impressive impact in the playoffs was defending Luka Doncic.

Atlanta Hawks sub Onyeka Okongwu needs to reach Looney level

Now avid readers of Soaring Down South know I’m a big fan of Onyeka Okongwu. I’m not saying he drags the chain at all. The fact that he came back early from his shoulder injury is a testament to the hard work of the second-year man.

That being said, it took the veteran leadership of Lou Williams to bring out the best in Okongwu in his freshman year. That connection only got stronger last season and now Okongwu is likely to lose Willams’ presence, especially if the veteran retires. However, he is showing great personal development by wanting to come back next season with a jumpshot.

In Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, where Looney scored his playoff high, he did so by being in the right places on the floor, opening up to his teammates to find him. However, not only that, Looney set up big screens so his guards could get open looks behind the 3-point line.

Looney knew when to roll to the hoop or when to stay strong to create space. It’s a mental part of the game that Okongwu needs to develop, and the Hawks team needs to develop that chemistry with their backup big man.

Okongwu is super good at pick and roll. However, but he can create defensive confusion by not rolling on key plays, this will benefit ground spacing for the Atlanta Hawks. This will be a huge advantage for his star guards.

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