Here is a link to my Warriors draft column. This is the last column I write for a month, but I will be blogging and tweeting some of the time. The full text of this column runs below:
OAKLAND — As a minor footnote to the 2015 draft, the NBA champion Golden State Warriors drafted Kevon Looney with the 30th and final pick of the first round. You pronounce his first name Ke-VON, in case you didn’t know.
He was one and done at UCLA last season, was the 10th best prospect in the nation coming out of high school. I expected the Warriors to select a shooter. I really did. A guy coming off the bench who could bury 3s, another deep threat along with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Shows what I know.
Looney will play power forward for the Warriors, be the “4” behind Draymond Green. That’s if the Warriors trade David Lee and Lee’s big contract, although Warriors general manager Bob Myers said the selection of Looney “should not be looked at as a precursor to any move.”
Otherwise, Looney could be the third power forward — call that the third 4. Looney is taller than Green. Can defend taller guys, not that Green is bad at that part of basketball. Looney gets his points in the post, although he can bury the occasional 3. He is a shot blocker. A defender. Grabs offensive rebounds. He’s young, turned 19 in February.
Here is Myers on Looney: “We had him ranked pretty high on our board. We like the fact that he’s a skilled big. He’s long. Great rebounder per minute. That’s something that really translates from college to the NBA.”
I asked Myers what he means by a skilled big.
“Somebody that’s 6-9,” Myers said, “and can actually step out of the 3-point line and make shots. That’s a skill. Somebody who can put the ball on the floor. That’s a skill. Not many guys that size can grab a rebound and finish on the break. Things of that nature. Whereas maybe a non-skilled big is a rebound specialist only and won’t shoot outside of three or four feet. He (Looney) fits the former. He’s able to shoot, pass and dribble. He’s got to get better in lots of areas. Whoever you draft at 30 has to get better.”
Reporters asked Myers about reports Looney has an injured hip and a degenerative back. Myers said he didn’t know. Myers didn’t seem too concerned. Back shmack. Here’s more of what he said about Looney.
“It would be hard for anyone we draft to crack the rotation.”
“With our roster assembled it would be hard for whoever we took to find minutes.”
“Whoever we took was probably going to have to wait in line.”
“We’re pretty happy with the team, pretty happy with our depth. The draft allows you to build with youth. And so we took a 19-year-old. If he helps us this year, that would be great, but we’re not forced to throw someone out there right away. That speaks to the roster.”
In other words, the Warriors had the 30th pick. Looney was there. The Warriors took him. And here’s what I say about Looney. So what?
Worded another way, it makes no big difference that the Warriors drafted him. The Warriors are a team with no serious weakness. Sure, they would like a higher-scoring center. And a shooter off the bench. Maybe they could use other things. But they breezed through the regular season, breezed through the playoffs and are clearly and indisputably the best team in the NBA.
Leading up to the draft, we heard rumors the Warriors would trade up in the first round.
You really thought they would trade up? They had nothing to trade up for. Unless some dope team took Lee and his humongous contract. Bulletin: there are no teams that dopey.
But there is big news from this draft for the Warriors. The big news is that there’s no big news. That’s right. It means everything that there is no big news. Draft night used to be the biggest night of the year for the Warriors. It was their Christmas Eve.
It used to be, “Who will the Warriors take?” You wondered if the guy would make the team better. Usually not. You wondered if the Warriors would trade him. Lots of speculation about a trade in 2009 when they drafted a runt named Stephen Curry.
And for years you knew it didn’t really matter who they got. The Warriors would be no good. I’m looking at some names from the not-so-distant past: Patrick O’Bryant, Kosta Perovic, Jermareo Davidson, Stephane Lasme, Richard Hendrix. Huh?
And when the draft ended, people would go home and just shake their heads.
Get this. The Warriors will get better whether Looney is good or not. They could have gotten better by doing nothing. Green and Harrison Barnes are still maturing. Will improve. Barnes is up and down, and that will resolve itself. He is an amazing talent. And yes, Green will get better, too.
And I’ll tell you something else. Festus Ezeli is improving. He had a big Game 5 against Houston and a big Game 6 against Cleveland. Both were closeout games. Eventually, he will supplant Andrew Bogut, who is getting older and may get injured down the line.
The Warriors don’t need Looney to be good. That’s the real news from draft night. It will be nice for the Warriors if he’s good — an eventual starter or a significant sub. But it’s not necessary, not life or death, not failure or success.
The Warriors won the championship a little more than a week ago. Draft night is now just another night.
For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn firstname.lastname@example.org.