Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh, 7’0”, 250 lbs
2012-13 Collegiate Stat Line: (all stats courtesy ESPN.com)
7.2 points, 57% field goals, 44% free throws, 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 blocks
One of the more surprising prospects to leave school early, Pittsburgh’s Steven Adams has some potential that NBA scouts like to see. Despite below-average scoring figures, Adams’ size and athleticism gives him some room to grow in the professional ranks.
There’s a lot of potential in Adams’ game. His one-year numbers at Pittsburgh don’t jump out at you, but his efficiency does. He shoots 48 percent on post-up shot attempts and prefers his left shoulder while on the left block.
For a big man, Adams can move in the open floor. He finished 83 percent of his transition opportunities. Not only is he consistent, but he is quick and agile enough to run the floor with the likes of Travon Woodall while at Pittsburgh.
His low-post skills do not stop on offense either. He held opponents to 25 percent shooting when they post him up. Adams has the ability to challenge any shot that comes his way due to his size and athleticism.
The biggest key for Adams is his never ending motor. He is constantly going and rarely stops moving. He’ll sit down and post-up his defender, but he moves well without the ball and is always part of that action on offense.
If you’ve never seen Steven Adams play, check out some highlights:
For Steven Adams, he must prove that he is worth the hype around him. His numbers impress nobody, but by watching film on him, you can see he wants to play well. The question here is whether or not he has the ability to play as well as he would like. He needs to be more aggressive and assert himself some more.
Also, while Adams is athletic and moves well, the big men in the NBA move well with the ball, something Adams does not defend well against. Opponents shot 41 percent against him when in isolation. There are many centers in the NBA who can iso their opponent into submission. Adams needs to address this with some quicker reaction time and increased defensive footwork.
Overall, Adams is unproven. Only five times in the 2012-13 season did he score more than 10 points. With the exception of Cincinnati, all of those games were against highly inferior opponents. That leaves 26 total games of less than 10 points. He also only had four games with double-digit rebounding numbers. While he’s a talented player, there’s too much of an unknown from him at this point.
March 21 vs. Wichita State (NCAA Tournament Second Round; L 73-55) 13 points, 5-for-7 field goals, 3-for-4 free throws, 11 rebounds, two blocks
Considering the talent level Adams was facing, this was by far his best game this season. He was assertive and showed plenty of movement against the Shockers. This is the game that got NBA scouts talking and probably influenced Steven’s decision to leave Pittsburgh after his freshman year.
Dec. 31 vs. Cincinnati (L 70-61) Zero points, 0-for-0 field goals, 0-for-0 free throws, nine rebounds
Here’s where Steven Adams becomes an enigma. Yes, he was in foul trouble much of the game, but he still managed to play right around his season average of 24 minutes per game. Zero points is one thing, but zero shot attempts? Against one of the top teams in the country (the Bearcats were ranked 14th in the country at the time of the game)? Star players usually try to assert themselves more against the top teams, not shy away from them. This could be a telling sign of Adams’ mentality on the court.
Potential Landing Spots:
There have been rumors swirling around that some NBA teams have said that Steven Adams should have stayed in college, citing his lack of experience and probability he will not get drafted at all. Right now he’s being pegged anywhere from a mid-first round selection to early second-round choice. Some don’t even have him on their draft boards. Adams will find a home; it will just be a matter on who’s going to venture into the unknown.
Teams That Make Sense:
Indiana Pacers: No, the Pacers do not need an immediate option at center. However, by drafting the youngster, the Pacers would allow Adams to learn from Roy Hibbert, who is quickly becoming one of the best centers in the NBA. It’s also important to note that David West is an unrestricted free agent this summer. If West signs somewhere other than Indiana, Adams may need to be put into the rotation quickly. However, re-signing West should be a top priority. Adding a young, talented player with enormous potential such as Adams to the mix could be very beneficial.
Brooklyn Nets: Another “draft-and-learn” strategy here that could be very beneficial to Adams and the Nets. Brook Lopez is solid at center. Adams could easily learn from the refined big man and earn some playing time as well. Andray Blatche is an unrestricted free agent, but don’t expect the Nets to pick up the tab for Blatche this summer. Adams learning from Lopez could be a great asset to the Nets in the future.
With Steven Adams, the key is going to be who can he learn from wherever he is drafted. Brooklyn and Indiana are two quality spots for him to land at this point. However, if Adams ends up being forced into the starting lineup for a team in desperate need of a center, it could be a disastrous ending for both Adams and that team. He needs to be able to learn from a quality player so he can grow into being a quality player himself.
Topics: Andray Blatche, Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets, Cincinnati Bearcats, David West, Indiana Pacers, NBA, NBA Draft 2013, NCAA Tournament 2013, Pittsburgh Panthers, Roy Hibbert, Steven Adams, Travon Woodall, Wichita State Shockers