Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Kevon Looney Draft Profile

Welcome back to LWOS NBA Draft Coverage, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional basketball players.  Each day The LWOS Basketball department will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2015 NBA Draft.  Be sure to bookmark the site, follow us on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports!  Last Word On Sports is your new headquarters for everything “NBA Draft”! For a Complete Listing of all our 2015 NBA Draft Articles Click here.

 Kevon Looney, UCLA, Forward, 6’9”, 19 years old

Simply put, Kevon Looney’s value as an NBA prospect starts and ends with one word: Upside.  The numbers he put up in his lone season at UCLA do not jump off the page.  This could have something to do with his UCLA team being a bit of a disappointment as a whole; it could be a sign that maybe Looney will never live up to what would seem to be a limitless ceiling (as evidence by the fact that he was a 5-star recruit out of high school); it could be a sign of a player who is simply on the cusp of super-stardom, just not quite there; it could be a combination of all those things.

What does jump off the page are Looney’s physical measurables.  He is 6’9” with a 7’3” wingspan.  He is 220 lbs., and has a pretty quick first step for his size.  Having said that, he still needs to add strength, which can be said for pretty much all college kids coming into the NBA.  He shot 43.1% from beyond the 3-point line.  He averaged nearly 10 rebounds and tacked on 1-plus steals per game.  Yet, he could be frustrating to watch at times because he was so inconsistent.  In the NBA – where Mo Williams can score 52 points in a game – single game outputs do not mean much.  A player is only as good as what he can consistently do.  Looney had every opportunity to be assertive on offense and have it run through him, but he only averaged 11.7 points a contest.  In his first game at UCLA, he scored 20 points, but only topped that once the rest of the way – scoring 27 in a game against Stanford.  He shot 47.6% from the floor, which is not bad, but is not particularly good.  Though in his defense, sometimes the UCLA offense seemed to stagnate, and he was left with the ball in his hands and the shot clock winding down.  While he does have potential as a scorer, he is struggles to create his own shot with the ball in his hands.  Take away those low-percentage, forced shots and his efficiency goes up noticeably.

Defensively, Looney’s potential is equally appealing, maybe even more so.  Although it remains to be seen if the jump from college to pro ball will cause some problems for him.  In college, he was a well-above-average and versatile defender, and a very good rebounder.  He was just quick enough to guard opponents out on the perimeter, and he had just enough strength to guard a big down on the block.  In the NBA, however, just enough might not be enough.

As far as NBA potential, Looney is loaded with it.  He’s the prototypical modern-day power forward.  He is a good enough outside shooter to be a “Stretch 4,” but calling him that would ignore all the other things he can (or has the potential to) do.  He has all the ability of Channing Frye, who was misused in Orlando this year, but was arguably the most important player on the Phoenix Suns team that was the surprise of the NBA a year ago.

Looney does not have near the explosiveness Kevin Garnett had early in his career, but it is not out of the question that that’s his ultimate ceiling as a pro.  Right now though, the more realistic comparison for Looney is a combination of the aforementioned Frye, mixed with some Carl Landry, with a dash of the memories of Rasheed Wallace’s career.

When evaluating Looney, it is hard not to drool over some of jaw-dropping flashes he showed; but those are just that – flashes.  It is near impossible to give a firm answer to what Kevon Looney will be in the NBA.  He will most definitely need some period of adjustment, which could take a couple years.  After that, he could be a fixture in the All-Star game; or he could be sent to the D-League as a rookie, be forced to play overseas, and maybe work his way back into the league.  Really, anything is in play with Looney.  Whoever takes him will be drafting him for his potential/upside, and must do everything they can to protect themselves (as well as Looney himself) against his downside.  He has all the tools, but players as talented as him have flamed out before, or not even approached their full ability as a pro (think Derrick Coleman).
Early in the college season, there was speculation Looney could sneak into the top-five of the NBA Draft.  While that was probably setting the bar too high, as Looney wasn’t nearly that good at UCLA to justify that.  But again, ranking him as a top-five pick at any point is a testament to the upside he has.  Currently, Looney’s draft stock puts him more in the 12th-17th pick range overall in the first round.  Picks in that range are usually high risk/high reward picks, and Looney fits that profile to a tee.


More Posts

Send Us A Message