Kevon Looney – Another Bruin success story?


Kevon Looney already has some NBA qualities. Will he be able to develop once he gets to the NBA, though? (Photo credit to cbssports.com)
Kevon Looney already has some NBA qualities. Will he be able to develop once he gets to the NBA, though? (Photo credit to cbssports.com)

Kevon Looney flew under the radar this season, partly because UCLA didn’t get much national attention.

However, he is a very raw, but fairly skilled player and, at 6-foot-9, could become a matchup nightmare and elite defender in the future in the NBA.

Here is my opinion.

He reminds me of Giannis Antetokounmpo – a 7-foot-3 wingspan – but he is a little more physical and aggressive than the “Greek Freak.” Looney is a tremendous offensive rebounder. He totaled 122 rebounds on the offensive end this season in 36 games, and 11 of those rebounds came in three NCAA tournament games.

He had his best college game on Jan. 8 against Stanford. He stuffed the stat sheet as he scored 27 points, grabbed 19 rebounds, including 10 offensive rebounds, and dished out three assists in 47 minutes of action.

He had 16 games in which he grabbed more than 10 rebounds and recorded 15 double-doubles this season.

Also, he averaged over one steal and nearly one block per game, and showed he his defensive potential and what he could become someday in the league.

DraftExpress spent a lot of time highlighting his defense, and for good reason. He showed a lot of promise in that area. He is able to contest and alter shots without picking up a lot of fouls. He is long and athletic, and is able to guard small and power forwards. His ability to versatile is very intriguing to a lot of teams.

His offensive numbers worry me. While he averaged over 11 points per game, I don’t feel that he is much of a threat on that end of the floor. He shot over 43 percent from three this past season, but he only attempted 53 shots from beyond the arc. That’s a very small sample size. He attempted the fourth-most shots on the Bruins roster and scored the third-most points. He shot 47 percent from the field, but just 62.6 percent from the line. He has trouble creating his own offense, too.

His shooting form looks good for a guy who is as offensively raw as him. He has good mechanics, for the most part, and it goes in.

His offensive game is nothing to drool over, though. While he has flashed potential, he is still very raw when it comes to creating his own offense and he struggles with consistency.

He started the season with 11 straight games scoring in double-figures. He followed it up four straight games in single-digits and never shot better than 33 percent from the field.

The last eight games of the season, he failed to score in double-figures in five games, and in his five postseason games (two PAC-12 games and three NCAA games), he scored in double-figures one time (10 points against UAB).

His rebounding effort was consistent, however, and that will be something teams will be able on to count on with him.

I see Looney as a mix of Antetokounmpo and Tobias Harris. I think Looney will make more of an impact in terms of rebounding, but he has qualities similar to those two NBA players. Harris really came on this season and should have a great season next year. Antetokounmpo just finished his second season and is poised to be a good player for a long time.

I think it will take Looney at least a year or two to adjust to the NBA. He will have some games that’ll make a fan go “WOW,” but he will also have some games that’ll leave that same fan scratching his or her head.

Looney is a native of Milwaukee and the Bucks are slotted to pick 17th in the draft. They need a power forward badly, too. Looney is seen as a combo-forward, meaning he can play the small or power forward and, as I mentioned earlier, he should be able to guard both positions, too. I have him going to the Boston Celtics, one pick ahead of Milwaukee.

As far as his ceiling, I don’t see him becoming anything special, but I do think he could become a solid player, provided he can figure out things on the offensive end. He could end up like Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, a former Bruin who has made a name for himself in the NBA as a tough, rugged defender.

Wherever Looney ends up, he, like all rookies, will have to prove himself and work extremely hard.

One thing he has going for him is the success that UCLA players have had in the NBA.

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