NBA hopeful Steven Adams makes great start
Kiwi NBA hopeful Steven Adams has made a promising start to what shapes as a long process impressing potential suitors ahead of the June 27 draft.
Adams lined up with a large number of fellow draft hopefuls at the first NBA combine in Chicago yesterday and by all reports the 2.13m 19-year-old Wellingtonian did his prospects no harm as players were put through an array of drills.
With full-court workouts not due to start until next month, NBA team representatives are gauging talent and potential via individual drills at the moment.
“Best two players I've seen at the Combine today have been Steven Adams and Rudy Gobert,” said ESPN’s Chad Ford via Twitter. “Both helping themselves a lot here.”
The knock on Adams through his one-and-done year of college hoops at Pittsburgh was that his offence lacked fluidity and that his game was still at a rudimentary development level. His athleticism, shot-blocking and potential were considered his major positives.
“Adams looked incredibly raw during his freshman year,” wrote NBA lead writer Jonathan Wasserman on bleacherreport.com. “Just about all of his production came off catch-and-finishes at the rim, with very few points coming from further than eight feet away.
“But during the shooting portion of the combine, Adams helped put questions to rest over his offensive limitations.
“Adams was knocking down shots in the mid-range, both off the catch and off the dribble. If you've never seen him before you would have pegged him as a natural. He showed sound mechanics and looked fluid throughout.
“Adams certainly showed he's got some pick-and-pop potential down the road, and that he may not be as raw as everyone claims he is.”
The four-day combine includes interviews with NBA teams and media, medical testing, skills drills and strength and conditioning tasks.
It’s all part of an exhausting process of assessment by NBA teams ahead of the June 27 draft where 60 players will be chosen in two rounds of picks. Adams had been predicted to go as high as 18 by some analysts, though respected talent assessment website Draft Express currently has the big Kiwi projected to go at No 26.
All first-round picks receive guaranteed contracts.
Adams, seeking to be the third Kiwi to play in the big league but the first to get picked in the first round, told NBA.com after the first day of the combine that his US hoops experience continued to be somewhat of a blur.
“It’s all go. It’s just crazy, going from New Zealand to the Big East to this NBA draft combine,” he said. “I’m keeping up with it but it seems like my life’s going pretty fast at the moment.”
Adams said he hoped his work ethic, athleticism and physicality would stand him in good stead as teams assessed the talent on parade.
“I’ve been working on my jump shot a lot with my coach [New Zealand-based] Kenny McFadden. We’ve been trying to work on moves, and getting more comfortable and confident scoring.”
Asked about his learning curve as he prepared for what is hoped to be the next step to the NBA, Adams said: “A big one bro. So far it’s been good for me. Pitt helped, [coach] Jamie Dixon taught me a lot and that helped the transition to here and helped me deal with the culture and the intensity. It’s been really good man.”
Adams has plenty more hoops to jump through yet as the draft hopefuls will continue to be pushed and prodded over the next month or so. They will advance to full-court game workouts by early next month.
But the big Kiwi appears to have made a most promising start.