So, Steven Adams had a good first day at the NBA Combine in Chicago. There’s speculation — early and idle though it may be — that Adams might be working his way into the 1st Round. Perhaps even the lottery portion.
This is good. Pitt hasn’t had a player go in the first round since Vonteego Cummngs. There hasn’t been a high first round Pitt player selected since Charles Smith.
You would think this would be a good thing. That Pitt is not just turning out good college players, but NBA talent.
Apparently not. Instead it’s complaints that Adams was wasted at Pitt. That Dixon’s system held him back. That Dixon can’t coach talent. That Dixon drove him to the NBA Draft because the system was hurting him. By god, there has to be someone to blame for this!
It couldn’t possibly be that the NBA Draft is big on talent and potential. Not so much on how the kid produced in college. That Steven Adams was always going to be an intriguing prospect that would rise on the draft boards because of his size, good footwork, motor and athleticism. Oh, and plays a position that is always in need of talent.
No, that can’t be it. Silly me.
Since I’m being silly, let’s try this.
This was Steven Adams for the year:
Now, in the 2012 draft the first true center taken (Anthony Davis was classified as a PF/C) was another freshman. He was picked #9 by the Detroit Pistons.
Tell me how Jim Calhoun wasted the talent of Andre Drummond at UConn. Please. Drummond was considered one of the top-5 players when he arrived at UConn. He was pedestrian while there. While an obvious one-and-done, he hardly impressed.
Yet, when the draft rolled around he was a top-10 pick. Why? Because of his potential.
Do I think Adams could have been more productive at Pitt in some games? Yep. Do I think Lamar Patterson and Tray Woodall failed to get the ball inside to him enough during games? Yep (and not out of jealousy or a desire to freeze him out).
I also think Adams noticeably improved from the start of the season to the end. Compare his presence in the Michigan game in November. 10 minutes, 1 rebound, 0 points and 2 fouls. He was a complete liability against the Michigan frontcourt. Then look back on later games like Louisville. He improved over the course of the year. It wasn’t sudden or drastic. It was fits and starts. Setbacks and progress. He’s now had the last 6 weeks or so do nothing but practice with a coach one-on-one.
“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.”
I’m rooting for Steven Adams to be a lottery pick. To develop and become a great player in the NBA. There is no donwnside for Pitt for him to get drafted high.