NBA Draft Prospects - Steven Adams (NZ)[caption id="attachment_16640" align="aligncenter" width="483"] Ray Fittipaldo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette[/caption] Over the past couple of weeks we have looked at both Aussies, Matthew Dellavedova and Brock Motum, who have nominated for the NBA Draft on June 27. There is another prospect from Down Under however, New Zealander Steven Adams.
Steven AdamsBorn: 28th July 1993, Rotorua, New Zealand Height: 213m Weight: 113kg Adams grew up in New Zealand to an English father and Tongan mother. At the age of 13, his father passed away, leaving Steven to the care of his brothers and sisters who placed him in a Basketball academy. He attended Scots College in NZ before graduating and enrolling in Notre Dame Preparatory School in Massachusetts. Adams has just completed his freshman year at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) where he averaged 7.2 points on 57% shooting from the field, 6.3 rebounds and two blocks in 23.4 minutes. As a 15-year-old, Adams started at Center for New Zealand in the 2009 FIBA Oceania Under-17 Championships. He averaged 2.7 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots while matching up against older players. When he was 17 he played on the Under-19 New Zealand National Team.
Strengths Adams is considered one of the top International prospects in the draft. He has a great combination of size, length and athleticism. He has by most reports an NBA-ready body, including an impressive wingspan of 2.25m (7-foot-5) and a standing reach of 2.78m (comparatively Shaquille O'Neal measured at 2.31m and 2.84m). An extremely good rebounder and shot blocker makes him an asset defensively. Adams has an improved jumpshot to about 15 feet and also cleans the glass offensively to supplement his points total. Adam's huge frame is complemented with quick feet, and is able to play well above the rim. Weaknesses: Adams will turn 20 a month after draft day and having only played Basketball for 4-5 years is an extremely raw prospect. If he gets drafted Adams should spend the first season or two in the D-League to further develop. Most of his criticism is focused on his offensive skills. He is a poor free throw shooter (44 percent for Pitt) and will need to continue to establish a post up game as he doesn't appear comfortable with his back to the basket.
Adams may of been better playing another season of college basketball to develop, but has stated he nominated for the draft so he can financially support his family. A player of Adam's size and potential can be a valuable resource to any team so it's expected he will be drafted in the first round, possibly as early as the teens. If it eventuates, Adams would become the first New Zealander to be drafted in the first round. A first round pick is guaranteed a salary of $1 million in their first season. Adams is a raw basketball product with an NBA-ready body, and one teams are extremely interested in. Leading up to the draft he has trialed with the Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76er's and Utah Jazz. Adams may be a boom or bust-type prospect, but either way he's a project for whichever team selects him. Where do you think he'll land come draft day?