Draft profiles: Kevon Looney, 6'9, 220 lbs, PF, UCLA, Freshman

Draft profiles: Kevon Looney, 6'9, 220 lbs, PF, UCLA, Freshman

Athletic Ability

Athletically, Looney is smooth and useful defensively. He possesses above average straight-line speed and average lateral quickness. While he could show more vertical, I question if some of his average verticality is due to a lack of strength.

Size

Looney possesses a tremendously long wing-span and has average power forward height at 6’10. However, Looney is near rail-thin and looks like it will take time to add to that build. Due to his lack of build, I am concerned how long it might take him to adjust to the NBA. Whomever drafts him will need to be patient with him as he has some skills, plays hard, and can rebound, but simply doesn't have the body for the league yet.

Basketball IQ

Looney shows an above average basketball IQ that is still developing. He shows great team-player skills by his unselfishness, solid ability to pass the ball, and he plays hard.

Skill

Looney’s calling card is his ability to rebound along with his ability to show flashes of other skill-sets. While he is rail thin, Looney was able to average over 9 rebounds a game as a Freshman in 30 minutes per game. He also showed flashes of a perimeter jumper by hitting near 42% from 3, albeit on only 1.5 attempts a game. Looney also shows a little defensive versatility by being able to switch onto the perimeter when needed. While his block numbers do not show it, he has the potential to be a shot blocker once he adds more strength.

While Looney has many strengths in his rebounding, defensive versatility, promise of a jumper, and hard-working, he also possesses many big-time weaknesses. Despite showing glimpses of an outside shooter, offensively, he is not a consistent shooter as evidenced by his 63% free-throw shooting. Looney has no post game and it is unknown if he can develop one as he is too weak right now. While showing some handles, he does not have great blow-by speed to at least get into the lane. He also does not set great screens again as he is too weak right now.

Defensively, while an excellent rebounder, Looney is too thin to guard post players. While not a slouch athletically, Looney is not a great athlete either and therefore is not someone you can regularly count on in pick-and-roll switches.

Overall

Overall, Looney presents to be a nice player down the road assuming he can add some weight. However, he is a project player meaning that while he plays hard, shows intangibles, and can rebound, can he be good enough to even play meaningful minutes? Will adding weight allow for him to play faster, stronger, and quicker? It is possible as lack of strength hinders him, but he still shows many other great traits despite being overmatched. It will however, take at least 2-3 years before I think he will be ready to play any minutes in the NBA assuming strength will be the difference between him being a solid NBA player or not sticking in the NBA.

Fit with Bulls

While the Bulls could use some athleticism to their lineup and I am all about draft best player available at pick 22, I don’t know when and where he would play for the Bulls barring injuries. Looney has some intangibles and some unrefined skills, but he belongs on a team that has patience to develop him. While the Bulls could use some good young front-court players in addition to Niko, they need someone that can show versatility to at least play center; someone such as Bobby Portis (has the weight to do so). I think Looney is one of those players that could be good down the road, but in about four years when a he signs with someone else after one team gives up on him. I also believe Looney is the type of player that could be a lottery pick, or someone that is so raw that could slide down to our pick. I would still prefer to draft other players over him. Also, the Bulls need some toughness to their team, and I don't know if Looney is the guy to provide that.

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    Everytime I read about these fabulous freshmen with major upside, I think back on the Bulls recent draft picks, and realize just how little patience Bulls Nation has. Marcus Teague didn't last 2 yrs before being shipped off to New Jersey. Tony Snell was a Jr, but his 1st yr Bulls fandom labeled him as a major bust.

    The truth is that either these players play well or disappear overseas or the D' League. Every well played game makes them a fan favorite, and every mistake filled game makes them tradebait.

    This is why, I get leery about any team drafting these fabulous freshmen. There's always a chance they'll be great, but for playoff teams with established vets, most turn out to be bench warmers, and their talents overshadowed by next yrs crop of fab freshies.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    I hear you but the NBA is about stars and these fabulous freshmen have high ceilings and star potential. True, they also have low floors which is why GarPax tends to avoid them, but then you get the team the Bulls are, a lot of good players but no real superstars. Their one former superstar was a fabulous freshman.

  • There are worse choices but the Bulls would be looney to draft this guy.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    Haha bad pun

  • Nice review. Looney IMO is a guy who could end up being one of the top 10-14 players in this draft. Or could be a bust.

    Some have stressed that he got overly tired as games and the season progressed. I'm not sure why that is. When a guy with his length, rebounding ability, and flashes of offense with an at times slashing and transition handle and fundamentally sound shot, you take notice. At 19 there are just so many question marks. I wouldn't be shocked at all if Looney ends up being a solid NBA player, but like with most freshmen were probably talking year two, three, or more before he becomes that valued rotation piece. As Kevin states(see what I did there/sorry), but as he says and I agree there are other players I would draft ahead of him due to his likely long transition and offensive question marks. But he is an interesting prospect none the less.

  • Well, it finally happened. Bulls fired Thibs. Maybe they can finally move on from this mess.

    I'm not excited about Looney at all. The tall, skinny guys scare me away because they all remind me of Tyrus Thomas. I really think the Bulls need to draft somone who helps now rather than future potential, because they have a small window before an overhaul is needed. Maybe a two year window. If they don't draft for today, they should do a draft & stash. Then they aren't filling a roster spot, because we all know the Bulls don't use the D-league.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    So you think that if you're tall and skinny, you must have a $0.02 brain like Tyrus Thomas? Because he was a phenomenal athlete, just a knucklehead.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    No, I wasn't implying he's stupid or anything, just that a skinny PF that becomes successful is hard to find unless you have Kevin Garnet skill. I'm not saying I'm right either, I'm just saying that his bodey type makes me wonder if he can successfully play the NBA PF position.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Yeah Looney has smarts but with muscle will he be tougher?

  • Kevin, a player that I haven't heard much talk about but is slowly rising on draft boards is Andrew Harrison. I'd be interested in your take on him, because it seems like he would fit what the Bulls like to look for.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    Not high on him! He has some talent but is not good at anything really and wants to be dominantl!

  • You mentioned Bobby Portis, even though I don't watch the college game, that is a guy that I am interested in hearing more about. Is he in this draft, can he still back out. Will you do a profile on him?

  • Will do one on him. Good prospect probably 5 picks out of our range!

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