Adams hopes to stand out at NBA combine

BIG POTENTIAL: Steven Adams is hoping to forge a career for himself in the NBA.
BIG POTENTIAL: Steven Adams is hoping to forge a career for himself in the NBA.

Steven Adams' seven foot frame is officially in the shop window as the Wellington teenager tries to boost his stock at the NBA draft combine which starts in Chicago today.

Adams is widely tipped to make history by becoming the first Kiwi to be picked in the first round of the NBA draft and, if successful, on June 28 he will become an instant millionaire. 

The gruelling four-day combine includes interviews with NBA teams and media, medical testing, skills assessment and strength and conditioning tasks.

''There's a lot of interest in what he can do and this is what it's all been about, building up for this combine,'' said Adams' long-time coach Kenny McFadden.

''Because the best of the best are here so now it's time to shine.''

Adams has signed with the Wasserman Media Group, who represent the likes of former NBA MVP Derrick Rose, last year's No 1 draft pick Anthony Davis and Liverpool superstar Steven Gerrard. McFadden said he had already taken calls from ''five or six'' interested teams including the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards.

Most mock draft boards predict Adams will be selected in the 20s but the picture will become clearer after the combine and the May 22 lottery, which determines teams' draft order. McFadden said Adams was primed to impress after a month in Los Angeles under respected skills trainer Rob McClanaghan, who works with stars including Rose, Russell Westbrook, Al Horford and Kevin Love.

Adams has also had sessions with LA Clippers yoga coach Kent Katich, attended Clippers and Lakers playoff games and took tips from Will Perdue, a four-time championship winner with Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls.

''He's had four weeks of strenuous training but we also got to spend some time in Magic Johnson's suite watching the playoffs,'' McFadden said.

''Will came in and brought some good insight. We've been working out with 12 draft prospects. The big fella from Louisville [Gorgui Dieng], the other big, Kelly [Olynyk] from Gonzaga and also the big fella from Kansas, Jeff Withey.  So he's been working with three of the best centres in the draft and he's been more than holding his own against all of those guys.''

Adams surprisingly declared for the draft after a solid but unspectacular freshman season with the University of Pittsburgh. Experts are describing this year's draft as one of the weakest in recent memory, while next year's class is expected to be stacked with top talent.

''He's pretty confident but there will be more of a clear understanding by Monday,'' McFadden said.

''There's been a lot of mock stuff going around and I've talked to several NBA clubs who actually called me up and asked me a few questions. The NBA game and what they teach is completely different from college basketball. The physicality of it, the isolations and the offensive moves are really going to surprise a lot of people out here. The combine will be full on. 

"They try and find weaknesses, to see if there's any red flags. They put them through strenuous workouts each day. The NBA season is 82 games plus playoffs, so they want to see if these players physically can last, and how they recover.''

The Dominion Post