Warriors took former UCLA player Kevon Looney with the 30th pick in the first round of the NBA Draft on Thursday. Looney averaged 11.6 points and 9.2 rebounds per game in his only season as a Bruin last year. (Kathy Willens/AP)

Loaded Warriors gamble on Looney with first-round pick

OAKLAND — With the deepest roster in the NBA, the newly-minted champions had the luxury of gambling with their first-round draft pick, and that’s just what the Warriors did by choosing Kevon Looney with the 30th selection.

“We’re pretty happy with the team. We’re pretty happy with our depth,” general manager Bob Myers said during a news conference Thursday night. “The draft allows you to build with some youth, and so we took a 19-year-old.”

Looney is a teenager who would have heard his name called much earlier on draft night if not for a report suggesting a hip injury could sideline him for the upcoming season. Myers deflected when asked about the health status of the newest
Warrior.

“I mean, I’d just be speculating right now,” Myers said. “We’re going to get him out here and take a look at him. [It’s] possible [he could miss time], but not for sure. We’ll look at him. Let our doctors make that determination.”

Looney, who averaged 11.6 points and 9.2 rebounds per game while pouring in 41.5 percent of his shots from beyond the arc during his lone college season, will speak at the team’s headquarters Friday.

As Myers explained, the Warriors have no problem taking a patient approach with Looney, who led all NCAA freshmen with 15 double-doubles.

“Fortunately for us, whatever it is, with our roster, the way it’s constructed, it was going to be hard for anybody we drafted to get a chance to try and crack the rotation,” Myers said. “If he needs to take some time to recover from anything that might be there, or not, then he will.”

Looney plays the same position as David Lee and Marreese Speights, but Myers cautioned that the pick shouldn’t be viewed as a sign that either of those big men will be departing.

“No. I don’t think this selection should be looked at as a precursor to any moves,” Myers said. “I think what we did was we took the best player on our board.”

The Warriors have until June 30 to decide if they will pick up Speights $3.8 million team option for next season, and they are actively trying to trade Lee. Myers indicated the team is “inclined to” bring back Speights, but wouldn’t confirm his return. He also said there was no major progress on the trade front for Lee or anybody else on the roster.

“There was no great trade or huge concepts that were discussed,” Myers said.

Though some reports claim the team would look into dangling its first-round pick to motivate another team into trading for Lee, Myers said there’s no current plan to ship out Looney.

“There’s never a zero percent [chance],” Myers said. “But anything specific to him, there’s nothing in the works. If there was, I wouldn’t be out here [talking to reporters].”

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