By Matthew T.F. Harrington
With the 30th and final pick of the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft last night, the Golden State Warriors selected UCLA forward Kevon Looney. The 19-year-old freshman fell into the Warriors lap after being projected as a lottery pick mid-season. A balky hip that won’t affect his ability to be ready for the start of the season helped Looney’s draft slide.
Looney produced one of the best freshman campaigns a storied program like UCLA has ever seen. The Milwaukee, WI native became a nightly threat for a double-double, average 11 points and 9 rebounds per game. His ability to get to the rim put Looney 2nd in the Pac-12 in rebounds. He led the conference with 122 offensive rebounds. He led all freshmen nationally with 15 double-doubles and was second in total rebounds with
The 6-foot-9, 220 pound power forward still has some developing to do before his body and his game are NBA-worthy, but that shouldn’t be a concern for the World Champions. The Warriors return most of the deep core that led them to the Larry O’Brien Trophy, which means playing time with the big club will be limited. This gives Looney a chance to hone his skills in the D-League with the Santa Cruz Warriors for a season or two until he’s ready to play a physical role against NBA caliber players. At the 30th pick, he represents a low risk-high reward profile for a team with no real weaknesses at the moment.