NBA Draft Profile: UCLA's Jordan Adams

NBA Draft Profile: UCLA's Jordan Adams
June 13, 2014, 2:00 pm
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Jordan Adams, 6-foot-5 shooting guard, UCLA

2013-14 stats: 17.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.3 apg, 2.6 spg, .485 FG%, .356 3P%

Somewhat of a surprise early-entry candidate, Adams was a relatively prolific scorer in his two-year college career, though he was overshadowed by teammates like fellow draft prospects Kyle Anderson and Zach LaVine, as well as current Timberwolves small forward Shabazz Muhammad. Possessing a good feel for the game, Adams makes up for his limited athleticism with his shooting ability and cleverness on both ends of the floor. Because of his age, the 19-year-old intrigues teams, but he certainly has some deficiencies that could hold him back on the next level.

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Career highlights: The Atlanta native, who finished his prep career at famed Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, made an immediate impact for the Bruins, scoring over 20 points in each of his first four games and posting averages of 15.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game, along with 44.7 percent shooting from the field and 84.3-percent free-throw shooting on the season, which culminated with him making the Pac-12’s all-tournament team. As a sophomore, after UCLA replaced head coach Ben Howland with Steve Alford, Adams emerged as the team’s top scorer, averaging 17.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.6 steals per game, while improving his field-goal percentage to 48.5 percent and three-point shooting to 35.6 percent, despite his increased usage. Adams was a first team all-conference selection and set the school’s single-season steals record during the campaign, which featured high games of 31 points, 13 rebounds, six steals and five three-pointers.

Strengths: An excellent outside shooter, Adams can hit spot-up long-range jumpers or come off screens, but he also uses his quick release to hit mid-range shots off the dribble, as well as a variety of floaters in the lane. Not overly quick, he uses his wide frame to bully smaller defenders on the interior, where his soft touch helps him finish. Possessing uncanny anticipation and good length, Adams isn’t a great individual defender, but has an advanced understanding of the game, along with being tremendous at playing the passing lanes and getting to loose balls, an attribute that makes him an effective rebounder.

Weaknesses: Adams’ lack of explosiveness could be problematic for him on the next level, both in staying in front of opposing defenders and creating his own scoring opportunities. Having just average height for his position, Adams’ conditioning is also an issue, as his body type leaves no room for not staying in top-tier shape. Although he’s very capable of playing off the ball, it will likely be an adjustment process for Adams, a natural scorer, to face not having as many shooting opportunities and to figure out how to make positive contributions otherwise.

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Draft projection: Depending on how he fares during the pre-draft workout process, including his level of fitness, Adams could be selected anywhere from the bottom of the first round to the middle of the second round, though it’s a slippery slope from there. If a team gambles that his youth, knack for putting the ball in the basket and overall basketball I.Q. makes him a solid risk, nurtures his ability and immediate results start to take shape from summer league to training camp, Adams could eventually find a role as an instant-offense scorer off the bench. However, it’s very likely that his initial NBA campaign includes some time in the D-League to develop other aspects of his skill set.