With the 30th pick in the draft, the Golden State Warriors selected Kevon Looney out of UCLA.
The Warriors were the best team in the league last season from start to finish, ultimately winning the 2014-15 NBA Championship. The Warriors won with an amazing mix of shooting, defensive, versatility, pace and roster depth. In Looney, the Warriors add a raw 19-year-old forward who could develop at a slow pace for Golden State.
Looney was projected to go as high as the late lottery, but surprisingly slipped to Golden State’s benefit. Looney’s slip is partially related to a past hip injury that has been characterized anywhere from minor to severe. Considering how healthy Golden State was this last season, this is a pretty nice landing spot for Looney and hopefully the Warriors’ medical team can address any issues regarding his hip.
Last season, Looney averaged 8.9 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game, while shooting 47 percent from the field and 41.5 percent from three-point range. He is a 6’9 power forward that has shown three-point range (though he did not shoot a ton of three-pointers in his one and only season at UCLA). He is a good, but not great athlete, and will need to fill out his frame if he is to compete effectively at the pro level. Looney has a large wing span and should develop into a solid defensive player.
Looney may be disappointed that he dropped in the draft, but landing in Golden State could be a blessing in disguise. The Warriors are creative with their lineups and put their players in positions to capitalize on their strengths. We may ultimately look back on this pick as one of the steals of the 2015 draft.
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