The defending champion Golden State Warriors selected forward Kevin Looney with the last pick in the first round in this year’s draft. Looney was a one and done college player at UCLA University. He was a starter his freshman year and put up numbers of 11 points and 9 rebounds per game. Looney is a power forward that can play inside and out. At UCLA he was a terrific rebounder as he posted 15 double-doubles over the course of the season. He also displayed his outside shot as he shot over 40 percent from three, but in limited attempts. He helped UCLA reach the Sweet 16 his freshman year and then made the jump to the pros. He slid a little further in the draft than expected and ended up with the defending champs. Looney will most likely have a limited role on the Warriors.
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They are a deep team that is primed to make another deep playoff run. His best chance to contribute would to be a backup for Draymond Green. Green is a stretch forward who can knock down three pointers. If Looney can prove his outside shot is consistent he could be the perfect back up for Green. He showed the capability to knock down outside shots at UCLA and carried that over to the summer league. Although, he only took six attempts and made three of them. Obviously, the Warriors will want to see a greater sample size before relying on the rookie. Looney had a decent summer league as he averaged about 9 points and 7 rebounds in under 20 minutes per game.
The Warriors trade of David Lee also opens up another spot for a big man on the team. Looney is a very good offensive and defensive rebounder at the power forward spot. Being a stretch four, it is impressive that he is still able to coral so many rebounds. In today’s NBA he is an attractive prospect because the game has shifted and more and more teams covet an outside shooting big man to draw the defense out of the lane. It is all about spacing and Looney knows this as he had said he intends to continue to work on his shooting range. Looney will have some competition in Golden State as the Warriors have Marreese Speights who plays a similar role, although Speights range does not extend beyond the arc.
James Michael McAdoo will also be fighting to earn some minutes off the bench if he can make the team. Looney’s role on the team remains to be seen for this year, but his best shot is to continue to work on his three point shot, which is a weapon the Warriors utilize as much as any team in the NBA.
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