Good center play
The Golden State Warriors enter the season with what potentially looks like the best center pairing they’ve had throughout their dynastic run.
Andrew Bogut was solid in the early years of the run, but Festus Ezeli was nearly unplayable in big games. Zaza Pachulia and Javale McGee’s peak moments with the Warriors were average, and by the time Durant had arrived, the center position was dead in Golden State with the introduction of the “death lineup.”
After being selected eighth in the 2016 NBA Draft, Marquese Chriss seemed like a lost cause. Bouncing from the Phoenix Suns, to the Houston Rockets, and then playing a few games on the Cleveland Cavaliers, it seemed like Chriss was near out of the league.
After signing with Golden State, he was waived after a few months, then signed to a two-way deal, which later got converted to a two-year deal. Chriss has been through the rigours and has earned a spot on this roster.
He showed capabilities of being a big body who can hustle for rebounds and finish inside. On top of that, his mobility makes him a fantastic pick-and-roll partner with Curry, as seen in the extremely limited time they played together since Steph’s return. If Chriss can step up a bit defensively and showcase more rim protection, he could move from being solid to a really good backup center.
Kevon Looney has had a very opposite career to this point. After being selected with the last pick in the first round, Looney has grinded to earn playing time with his strong defense.
Looney is one of the best perimeter defending centers in the league and can hold his own when being switched onto the majority of guards.
He can rebound and score at a solid enough rate, and has showcased a solid mid-range game. Injuries have weighed him down this season, a continuation from sitting out most of the Finals last year, but it looks like he’ll be ready for the start of the 2020-21 season after undergoing successful surgery on a core muscle.
These two will give the Warriors an option they haven’t had for a while. With the departures of Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala, the concept of rim protection becomes more important.
They should see a lot of minutes between the two of them, and I think they’ll perform very well for their limited, yet important roles.