For those of you who watched or can remember a couple weeks ago, UConn’s one-and-done Andre Drummond went Number 9 in the NBA Draft to the Detroit Pistons.
Drummond was always expected to be a one-and-done player. A top-10 recruit who at the last minute chose to go to UConn instead of taking a year of prep school before going pro. Drummond’s season — like UConn’s — was mostly forgettable. He averaged 28.4 minutes. Pulled down 7.7 rebounds per game and scored 10.2 points per game. His motor was questioned. His offensive skill wasn’t anything outstanding. Despite his size and playing close to the basket, he could barely shoot above 51% (undersized and on a bad knee, Nasir Robinsion shot 55%). He couldn’t shoot free throws — .295. But you can’t teach 6-10 and the potential was too tantalizing.
I believe it was Chris Dokish who tweeted words to the effect: if Drummond went 9th after that season, there’s no way Adams will need to stay for more than one year.
That’s probably true. Unless Steven Adams decides he really likes the college experience, his incentives to stay past one year will likely be limited to non-economic reasons. The NBA rookie salary scale means the difference between being a top-4 pick and a top-14 pick are not really worth staying an extra year in hopes of moving up.
That’s why Adams was listed as one of the likely one-and-done players for 2013 (Insider subs).
At 6-10 and 235 pounds, Adams is a physical specimen with long arms, good mobility, soft touch, good instincts around the basket and great natural strength. When he posts up, he is difficult to move off the blocks because of his lower-body strength and his ability to get low while making and maintaining contact with his defender. Similarly, he is extremely hard to score against because he holds his ground and builds a wall to protect the basket.
His specialty at this time might be his rebounding, but he has no go-to move on offense. He could make a living setting screens and averaging double-figure rebounds. Adams is just scratching the surface of what he will become, and the New Zealand native doesn’t take himself too seriously yet, but the NBA might.
It would be nice to have Adams for more than a single year, but I don’t expect it. The issue when Adams is playing for Pitt will be his ability to score consistently. No one questions his ability to defend, rebound and block. It’s his relatively limited offensive moves.
Now for some rough projections with stats.
Forty-eight of the hundred took part in the 2011 Nike Elite Youth Basketball League, for which I’ve compiled advanced statistics. Worth knowing about those stats: The typical possession’s worth about 1.1 points, rather than the 1.0 we tend to see in college and the pros. Those are here next to the projections, then I’ll discuss what we should actually expect from each player.
Steven Adams, #6, 6’10 C, Notre Dame Prep (Wellington, New Zealand)ORtg %Pos OR/DR% A% TO% B/S% FC/40 FTR FT% 2P% 3P% 3PA% Projection 97 20 12/17 6 20 9/1 5.1 52 51% 51% 10% 0%
James Robinson, #43, 6’3 PG, DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, MD)G/Min ORtg %Pos OR/DR% A% TO% B/S% FC/40 FTR FT% 2P% 3P% 3PA% Projection 98 21 2/9 22 22 1/2 3.7 39 70% 47% 30% 39% Team Takeover 21/502 117 22 5/11 24 16 1/3 3.2 75 76% 52% 20% 6%
I doubt that either of these two starts next season. Adams will be a big rebounder off the bench, but may not be ready to score in the Big East. Robinson’s a stud — Woodall’s way too good to sit for a freshman, but I’d be sorely tempted to anyway. Robinson won’t turn the ball over 22 percent of the time, and he definitely won’t shoot that many three-pointers.
What’s interesting is that Robinson actually struggled with turnovers in the EYBL. Now that was a year ago, and his performance in the FIBA U18 Americas competition displayed a much more controlled Robinson. But also a player who, while running point, did not necessarily have the ball in his hand nearly as much. Only turning the ball over a couple times. It does give pause to wonder what Robinson’s turnover numbers will look like for Pitt when he will have the ball and direct more. Clearly there was a significant jump in his senior year, but are we expecting too much in terms of taking care of the ball this early?
Speaking of starting and point guards, Tra Woodall has been cleared by doctors to start non-contact workouts.
Woodall said Monday night that he wanted to begin contact work right away, but team trainer Tony Salesi is being extra cautious with the injury because it gave Woodall so many problems last season. Woodall expects to be cleared for contact by August and said he will be in the full swing of things when the team resumes fall workouts in September.
“I’m glad I got the surgery because I wouldn’t have been able to play my senior year the way I did last year,” Woodall said.
Woodall missed 11 of 12 games in the middle of the season, and played with a great deal of pain after coming back for the final few weeks of the season. He was injected with pain killing medication before almost every game.
Woodall said the problem is now fixed and does not expect any more issues.
Despite not being allowed to play, Woodall has been going to Greentree to watch the team play. And despite being Dante Taylor’s roommate, the way he spoke of what he expects Steven Adams to do suggests he sees Adams starting at center.
It is apparent that fans are not the only ones that have high expectations for Adams. Woodall said he thinks Adams will get 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game this season. He said he’s that good of a rebounder and is big and strong enough in the post to make some plays.
On Robinson, the point guard of the future, Woodall said he “loves” his game.
It is hard to picture Adams not starting next year. His defense alone seems to suggest that he will get the nod as a starter. Or at least starter minutes.
Let’s finish with some of the Greentree notes. The same blog post has Ray Fittipaldo — for good and bad — comparing freshman Chris Jones to Lamar Patterson (“He reminds me a bit of Lamar Patterson with his body. It looks like he can get into better shape, but he has a nice all-around game.”) and Durand Johnson to J.J. Moore (“You can see the potential oozing out of him, but you just wonder when he can put it all together.”). Zanna looks noticeably stronger in the upper-body but still has the issues of finishing on offense.
Greentree would have been a good place to be last night as Levance Fields was there, and played. Teaming with Gil Brown, Keith Benjamin and John DeGroat. All the Pitt coaches were watching last night, since it was a recruiting dead time. Starting Wednesday the next evaluation period hits.
Dante Taylor had a very good night (18 points, 18 boards). Zanna pulled double duty as another team was short-handed. The team with Adams, Robinson, Patterson and Zeigler rolled once more.