Thursday, April 2, 2015

2015 Draft Scouting (1st Round): Kevon Looney

Kevon Looney
6'10, 220
Big Board Rank: 17

After a season of up-and-down play for the Bruins, UCLA F Kevon Looney has decided to enter the 2015 NBA Draft.  A rail-thin forward with a high skill level and the ability to stretch the floor, Looney has an intriguing upside.  Most young players at Looney's size struggle with the things he does well, such as attacking off the dribble and shooting the ball.  Looney's skill level makes up for an underwhelming physical frame.  Listed at only 220 pounds on the UCLA roster, Looney will need to bulk up to play his natural PF position as a pro.  While he may be a bit of a project due to the needed extra weight, Looney looks to be a good fit for any team in need of a skilled forward at the 4.

Looney earned All-Pac 12 second team honors as a freshman.  He was generally the fourth option on UCLA's Sweet 16 team, as indicated by his 19.7% Usage Rate.


Looney's numbers were a bit underwhelming this year, aside from excellent three point shooting for a player his size.  The advanced numbers aren't much kinder to Looney, as his 53.3 TS% is disappointing for a player who wasn't even the focal point of his team's offense.  To his credit, Looney was one of the better rebounders in the Pac 12, finishing 4th in Offensive Rebound Percentage and 2nd in Defensive Rebound Percentage.


Looney's skill level is what makes him the prospect that he is.  With long strides that should make him a threat off the dribble and a jump shot to keep defenders honest, Looney's offensive skill level is right there with any big man's in this year's draft class, save Okafor and Towns.  His length (7'3 wingspan), should also serve him well at the next level.


Looney may have a hard time seeing the floor for heavy minutes as a rookie due to the significant weight that he needs to add to his frame.  At 6'9 or 6'10, and likely to play PF, Looney likely needs to add at least 10-15 pounds of muscle before he's ready to defend NBA-caliber bigs.  It would almost be inhumane for a coach to even consider putting him on the floor against someone like Zach Randolph or Blake Griffin.  If Looney can't put on weight and needs to move to SF, he may not have the requisite ball-handling skills to successfully make the transition.


Looney's style of play would fit nicely inside the Pistons' four-out, one-in offense.  His ability to stretch the floor around the Andre Drummond-Reggie Jackson pick-and-roll would likely enhance the Pistons' offense should Looney pay off.  On the other hand, a franchise that appears desperate to regain its playoff status probably can't wait for a player who needs a year or two in the weight room before he can even start to reach his full potential.

Mock Draft (Date)
Looney’s Position
Detroit’s Pick
Draft Express (3/31)
20th - Toronto
8th – Kristaps Porzingis (3/26)
12th – Utah
8th – Trey Lyles
CBS Sports – Vecenie (2/27)
10th – Detroit
Basketball Insiders - Koutroupis (3/1)
12th – Indiana
8th – Justise Winslow

Assuming Detroit picks between 7 and 9, it's very likely that Looney is still on the board.  Whoever else is still on the board will likely determine the amount of interest the Pistons have in Looney.  His style of play and upside would make him an excellent pick, but I'm leery of his value in the top ten, due to his lack of physical preparedness, which means it will be a few years before he's truly ready to make an impact at the NBA level.

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