By Randy Renner
The NBA Draft is Thursday night. The Thunder have the 21st and 29th picks in the first round and no selections in the second.
Each day leading up to the draft we’re profiling players that could be available when the Thunder choose.
On Thursday night we’ll have complete coverage from the INTEGRIS Thunder Development Center.
JORDAN ADAMS (Shooting Guard, UCLA)
At first it appeared Adams wanted to return to Westwood for his junior season at UCLA, but after a very successful sophomore campaign he ended up deciding it was time to move on to the next level.
Most mock drafts have him going in the later stages of the first round, in other words right where the Thunder happen to be sitting and being a shooting guard, Adams would also fill a Thunder need.
Adams is a tad short of the optimum for an NBA shooting guard. He’s 6-5 but he does have an impressive 6-10 wingspan which helps him on the defensive end.
At the NBA Combine Adams weighed in at 209 pounds and scouts liked that because Adams had gotten up as high as 230 at UCLA. In the off-seasons Adams tended to pay more attention to menus than workout plans so his weight has tended to go up over the summer and then back down again.
Adams overall athleticism isn’t as good as other shooting guards in the draft so the weight fluctuation has been even more of an issue.
That said he’s coming off an outstanding season for the Bruins. He averaged 17.4 points on 48.5 percent shooting per game (tops among available shooting guards). He hit 35.6 percent of his threes and 83.6 percent of his free throws. He also pulled down 5.3 rebounds a game (half of those at the offensive end, again tops among shooting guards) and averaged 2.6 steals per contest.
According to statistics from Synergy Sports Adams uses fewer pick and roll, spot-up, and isolation possessions than any of the other shooting guards, each by a fairly considerable margin, but he ranks third seeing 4.3 possessions per-game in transition and second averaging 3.3 off screen possessions per game.
He’s also regarded as the second best finisher among shooting guards averaging an outstanding 1.376 points around the rim. On the other hand he ranks as the worst jump shooter in the group (a bad sign for a shooting guard) at just 0.853 points per jump shot.
Because of those numbers Adams wasn’t used as much at UCLA in the traditional role of a shooting guard. Some of that had to do with his weight issues. Trimmed down to 210 or so that would likely change.
Of course in recent years the Thunder have not had a traditional shooting guard. As you know with Thabo Sefolosha filling that role he’s been more of a defender and rebounder than a shooter.
Adams rebounding is strong but, what has to concern the Thunder is his commitment to defense. He may not have much.
The Thunder have run into that with Jeremy Lamb. Lamb admits when he first got to OKC he didn’t care about defense at all and that has been one of the reasons he hasn’t gotten more playing time.
Adams seems to have great defensive instincts, especially when it comes to steals. His 3.5 steals per-40 minutes average is tied with OSU’s Marcus Smart for #1 among the entire draft class. But scouts say his fundamentals aren’t very good, he doesn’t get down in a proper stance very often and gets lost way too often as an on-ball defender. His effort and intensity at that end of the floor has also been questioned.
Getting into an organization with strong commitments to defense and work ethic should help Adams a lot and he’s still just a youngster, only 19 years old. He would appear to have all the tools, some of them just need to be sharpened a bit.