Kevin Rooney’s playoff defense history: “The wrong guy!”

“I got the wrong guy!”

This is a favorite taunt warrior Coaches and boring bench players from a few seasons ago.

Here is the scene: Kevin Rooney, finally entered the rotation after two hip surgeries that hampered his early career. The opposing scorer sees him as a target.

This makes sense. Rooney is a center without great speed or rim protection. He has no reputation. So the guards would have him switch positions, clear the floor and start their off-the-dribble attacks, salivating in the game. That’s when you hear the familiar call from the Warriors bench.

“I got the wrong guy!”

Spencer Dinwiddie Is one of three guards currently attacking Rooney in these 2022 Western Conference finals.This is Dinwiddie, back in 2018 Nets, let Rooney put it on, into his dribble bag, but failed to cross his left and right hips. The possession ended with a turnover.

The Warriors basically gave up on Looney before their third season.they added Damian Jones and Jordan Bell in back-to-back drafts and already hired Zaza Pachulia, JaVale McKee and David West. Rooney is the team’s sixth center without any clear future in the team. They turned down his fourth-year option, the clearest sign that the front office has taken down the young prospect.

“Didn’t see it (the first two seasons) because he wasn’t there,” Kerr said. “He had two hip surgeries and we don’t know what we did. Then in his third year, he had a great year and was like, ‘Oh, oh, we might lose this guy. ‘”

But before they expected to lose Rooney in unrestricted free agency — and they couldn’t offer him a higher price than a rejected fourth-year option — they found him a must-have in the 2018 Western Conference finals matchup. Essential Rotation Player, 2018 houston rocketsthey repeatedly compared to 2022 Dallas Mavericks The last few days.

surrounded by rockets James Harden and Chris Paul Has a versatile defender who can shoot. When the Warriors deployed their transition offense, they targeted the center. By the middle of the series, McGee, Pachulia and West were considered virtually unavailable.But the Warriors don’t want to Draymond Green Be central throughout the game. So they need Rooney. He’s proven to be their most consistent center in transition situations.

“I got the wrong guy!”

This is Harden — at his peak, he was driving the ball much faster in the first quarter of Game 1. Rooney has replaced him. Harden tried a series of dribbling moves, but the patient Rooney didn’t bite any of them. That’s part of his defensive efficiency. He is not nervous. He’s not keen on blocking or stealing. He’ll be standing there when you try to disguise him.

The possession caused Harden to pass the ball late, pass to him, and then step back for a competitive 3.

Similar to the current Mavericks Jaylen Brunson, in that game, there was a second scorer who often followed Rooney. It was a young Chris Paul early in Game 5 who just found a controversial 19-foot fadeaway on Looney’s long arm.

You’ll notice that Rooney was much thinner then. When he entered the draft, he was considered a forward. The Alliance forced him to upgrade to a survival center. He’s gotten stronger in recent years to better handle the position.Warriors selected James Wiseman Taking over at center, but Wiseman’s career has yet to take off.

So, wrapping up his seventh season and entering another unrestricted free agency this summer, he’s still a solid Looney as the convertible backbone of the Warriors’ defense, who, despite his size, Still resistant to conversion.

“I’m pretty much the same,” Rooney said. “I took the same approach. I was just a little bit battle-hardened. That was the first time I played on such a big stage (in 2018). I don’t know if my teammates trusted me the most, but they put me in There, I handled it well. Those experiences prepared me for what happened today, and I was more confident when I was on the floor guarding the back.”

Rooney is a movie buff.He researches trends and asks veterans Andre Iguodala How to best protect each specific player.

“I’m just a little bit smarter and a little bit stronger now,” he said. “So I’m better able to guard those guys.”

This is Rooney’s first game against Doncic. He switches him and makes him go left. This is part of the Warriors scouting report. According to the coach, Rooney’s game plan discipline is probably the best on the team. He doesn’t mess up the instructions.

Rooney doesn’t steal and make himself vulnerable. Because of his wingspan — 7-foot-4 — he’s always been able to get at least one decent game on the step-back 3. If a player drives, Rooney almost always directs him to help. In this possession, he blocked Doncic’s step back, Stephen Curry It’s there.

Here’s Rooney against Brunson in Game 2. It’s like you’d see a center and play a defender on the drive.

Stan Van Gundy, who hosted the game, spent much of the second half of Game 2 thinking aloud about why the Mavericks had been chasing Looney instead of Curry or Jordan Poole or others. Van Gundy should probably just scream”got the wrong person! ” from the edge. But Rooney doesn’t expect the Mavericks to make adjustments. The team has insisted on attacking him. He hopes to do that in Game 3.

“Luka, Brunson and Dinwiddie are all different types of players, different types of iso players,” Rooney said. “It’s kind of hard to have to guard these guys. I think (I’ve done) well done. It’s going to be a long series, so I’m going to have to stick with it because those guys are going to keep coming.”

(Photo by Spencer Dinwiddie and Kevon Looney: Darren Yamashita/USA Today)

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