May 17, 2013

NBA Drafts on Potential

Filed under: Basketball,Draft,NBA — Chas @ 6:21 am

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:

Steven Adams 32 23.4 7.2 6.3 0.6 0.7 2.0 1.1 .571 .443 .000

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.

Andre Drummond 34 28.4 10.0 7.6 0.4 0.8 2.7 1.5 .538 .295 .000

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.

If you want to compare their 40 minute and tempo neutral numbers you can look here and here.

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.

Deon Waiters never started at Syracuse (6th man) but was the 4th pick in te draft last year. He just made the all-rookie team.

Comment by wbb 05.17.13 @ 6:27 am

just checked Dion Waiters stats at Cuse. He averaged 24.1 mpg in his soph season (less than Adams this year), and less than half of that in his freshman year.

Comment by wbb 05.17.13 @ 6:35 am

There were several articles on Adams out of New Zealand that led me to believe there was NO family financial crisis.

What I read between the lines, some of his handlers (former coaches, etc) he needs to leave Dixon if he wants to make bucks in the NBA. In other words, Dixon is not developing Adams for the NBA, etc.
Adams never came back to finish the semester. He stayed in New Zealand to prepare for the draft, combine, NBA workouts, etc under his former coach.

Comment by Pitt.Dan83 05.17.13 @ 6:39 am

We will see about potential. What I see right now is a clumsy 7 footer with hands of stone. I don’t think he goes first round.

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.17.13 @ 7:23 am

upittbb, you obviously don’t follow the NBA … many 1st rounders are based on potential and spned their 1st couple years in the NBA ‘D’ league. Most people are speculating that the No. 1 pick this year will be Noel from Kentucky, who was injured for most of the season. It will be based solely on his high school year.

I agree that Adams doesn’t seem NBA-ready, but if you are a 7-footer with potential, the shy’s the limit

Comment by wbb 05.17.13 @ 7:43 am

my typing continues to be terrible .. sorry

Comment by wbb 05.17.13 @ 7:46 am

Depends what Adams wants.

If he manages to go 1st Round and get a guaranteed contract, he’ll earn more with his Pitt “degree” in one year just with the signing bonus than I’ll earn in my lifetime with my Pitt degree.

And if he saves & invests well, he’s set for life before he turns 20, even if he’s a bust in the NBA (which, based on what I saw with his time at Pitt, I’d say that’s the way to bet…). Especially if he lives in NZ.

On the other hand, if he wants to actually make a name for himself in the NBA? Or if he wants to really make bank in order to take care of his 20-odd-some siblings?

Then he really shouldda stayed at least one more year in college.

Comment by Imma Man! Im 40! 05.17.13 @ 9:06 am

Despite the misguided raps on Steve he did increase Pitt’s wins by 10 and reduceded the opponents socring by 10 pts. per game. This was done in a substitue role playing 23 minutes per game.
Granted because of he has been only playing ball for 6 years he has much to learn. However it is ridiculous and spitful to think he will fall into the second round. With his limitaions he is the most athletic center in the draft. He owned Noels in a one-on-one in Prpe school and word is he ha s been working out with Zeller, Deing, and the center from Kansas and Maryland and has more than held his own.
Below is a report that appeared in
Bleacher Report
NBA Combine 2013 Results: Day 1 Measurements, Highlights and Top Prospects

Brian Mazique
(Featured Columnist) on May 16, 2013

Best two players I’ve seen at the Combine today have been Steven Adams and Rudy Gobert. Both helping themselves a lot here
At the combine, he was consistently the most mobile big man. He shot the ball well, and his performance had to make scouts believe he could contribute sooner than some may have believed.

Because of the refusal to contribute any fault to Dixon and his staff lack. The obvious inability to improve Pitt’s big men limiting Adams to under the hoop and refusing him to use his face to the basket game his major strength that caused him to alwys hesitate on his jump shot and pull up short;Blair never helped him work away from the hoop, Gray limited to one offensive move, McGhee no offensive coaching.
Consider if Adams and Robinson were not on last years team. Even playing part time because of Adams Pitt won 10 more games limited opponents to 1o less points per game and got Pitt into the NCAA.
Without him and Robinson Pitt would not have made the CBI this year.
Yes Adams had much to learn but less than we thought. He had an offensive game facing the basket Dixon obviously did not want him to use and when he was open away from the basket he had no confidence and when he did shot he short-armed the shot.
Conside if he played 30 minutes a game since Novemebr and learned from his experience and mistakes in my opinion Pitt gets to the elite eight or better.
The most athletic 7’center in college basketball, despite his presnt limitations, playing 23 minutes behind a 6’9″ overweight power forward who averaged 6 ponts a game and 8 rebounds.

Comment by pittisit 05.17.13 @ 9:53 am

How does Adams play behind Taylor when he averaged 8 more minutes per game? If Adams didn’t play the minutes that you think he should have, then how can attribute 10 more wins to him?

Comment by wbb 05.17.13 @ 10:23 am

good post, and also comments by wbb and pittsit. thanks,

Adams had a multi-year relationship with Dixon before coming to Pitt… his “handlers” knew perfectly well what Dixon was about and what the kid we be going through.

For whatever reason they pulled the trigger a year earlier than most people hoped/expected. Too bad for Pitt. We could have used him. And clearly he would have improved athletically and as a player.

But hey, the NBA is what it is…

Here is a second to Chas’ hope the kid goes high.

And overall observation is more and more people are going to rag on Dixon until he breaks through in the tournament, wins games there, gets far into the tourney.

I am a Dixon supporter and the reality is all the regular season stats are great for awhile… but the league tournament record, and the NCAA record just weighs him down over time. Looks like he is making some moves though and that is what you want to see… people adjusting.


Comment by Pittscript 05.17.13 @ 10:39 am

It is hard for me to be real negative about Dixon, but his rigidity in a few areas bother me … not as much though as how many of his players are forced to play out of position.

Comment by wbb 05.17.13 @ 10:57 am


Agree Adams should have gotten the ball
more offen. However many times he dropped
passes on a “give and go” clearly the result
of experience or lack of concentration.
Nevertheless Adams will be successful
at the next level. Make big bucks and have
a long career.

To all potential recruits. PC may not be
a dynamic personality however he also
will not lie to you. Beware of the Frauds
and hologerson types.

Comment by JR 05.17.13 @ 11:55 am

Let me get this straight, Dixon can’t develop inside players, can’t prepare players for the NBA, and rigidly forces too many players to play out of position. Furthermore he cost this years team a trip to the elite 8 by not playing Adams 7 more minutes a game. Makes me wonder how JD had the best record in the history of the Big East. Probably just luck.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 05.17.13 @ 12:08 pm

I agree with you to an extent Spirit but what matters to me is winning in March and Tourney Time and his track record there is very lackluster.

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.17.13 @ 12:50 pm

Adams has shocked the NBA GMS with his game
his skill level is much better than they thought

what does that mean it meams when he played for pitt they could not see how good he was.

becuse he was used wrong dixon tryed to make a race
horse into a plow horse a long time ago EMel
said the same thing i think what EMel said was
dixon was trying to make him into Grey or something like that.

when you are surprised some looks as good as he does after watching him all year in games

it means the system was bad for him and he could not show his skill.

Comment by FRANKCAN 05.17.13 @ 1:26 pm

good line FRANKCAN … trying to make racehorse into a plow horse

If that is JD’s style, so be it … maybe he needs to recruit these types.

Isn’t this similar to HCPC recruiting these 3 star massive OLs to fit his style?

Comment by wbb 05.17.13 @ 1:54 pm

Wbb thats what he should do.
look nba scouts saw him in more then 24 games
at pitt .
he gets to the nba combine and they cant believe
how good he is he is blowing them away moved into top 10 picks.

what is different he is not in dixons system
he is able to show what he can do.

yes dixon should recruit his kind of players becuse he cant use 5 star players he wont use them right or cant , they dont fit what he wants to do.

Comment by FRANKCAN 05.17.13 @ 2:02 pm

Good point Frankcan, has me thinking… thanks,

Comment by Pittscript 05.17.13 @ 2:06 pm

I think Dixon had Adams coming along nicely at the right time. It was Woodall who crapped the bed on what could have been a strong finish. If Adams had returned no one would be questioning JD’s developing big men. Adams played most of the season with a badly injured right hand. Although our guards were horrible at getting the ball inside, I think blaming the system is wrong. Dixon is one of the best things that ever happened to Steve Adams.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 05.17.13 @ 2:23 pm

What was the old joke, the only one who could hold Mike Jordan under 20 points a game in college was Dean Smith? College is a different game than the NBA. It just is. And Dixon’s highly efficient offense — make that year after year highly efficient offense — is a system that works. Should it be adjusted at times? Of course and JD has tried that too, this year, when an overrated JJ Moore couldn’t dribble-drive or Lamar Patterson became a shrinking violet.

Or maybe we should just fire JD for keeping Pitt and nationally relevant team over the years, and bring in someone who promises to run a high octane offense. Oh wait …..

Comment by velvil 05.17.13 @ 2:44 pm

Dixon coached Grey into a very profitable NBA career. So I guess he has took at least one plow horse to the Derby in his day. He was a chubby slow nobody when Dixon recruited him. Anybody remember that?

Comment by spiritofsection 22 05.17.13 @ 2:48 pm

Tell ’em V

Comment by spiritofsection 22 05.17.13 @ 2:51 pm

velvil no dixon should just recruit his kind of player like gray.
that is the point no one is saying dixin is not a good coach all i am saying is some players dont fit his system.
he needs what Wbb said his kind of player gray was a plow horse and the NBA needs that kind also.
bit adams was a race horse hr did not fit what dixon wanted to do he did it yes and did a good job but in that system he could not show how good he really was.
not saying dixon is bad coach just that some players would be better in a different system.

why do you all haveto think every thing is a attack on the coach Wbb could see what i was saying.
but you all have to go into attack mode insted
of thinking abought it.

Comment by FRANKCAN 05.17.13 @ 3:07 pm

FRANKCAN, When you say a coach should stick to plowhorses because his system doesn’t work for racehorses I think it is an insult to Dixon. No one is attacking you for saying it but that doesn’t chance the fact that your comment is at best a jab. Do you really think Dixon held Adams back ?

Comment by spiritofsection 22 05.17.13 @ 3:20 pm

spiritofsection, I wish you would quit with this incessant attack on Woodall. The fact is that if anyone was principally responsible for winning 10 more games, it was a healthy Woodall .. who by far had the best year of Pitt player (while of course playing out of position.)

The fact that Woodall had a bad game vs Wich St and we got our butt kicked only proves just how important he was to pitt’s success …. and nobody else was able to pick up the slck.

(kind of reminds me of Lebron’s last year in Cleveland. He goes 8 for 28 in the final playoff game vs Celtics and he is called a quitter. That same year in the finals, Kobe goes 7 for 24 against the same Celtics, and gets another ring!)

Comment by wbb 05.17.13 @ 3:23 pm

just a little something for you
Dick Vitale said barry slice rohrssen being back
with pitt is vital to pitt.

Comment by FRANKCAN 05.17.13 @ 3:33 pm

some more info i am 90 percent sure that you
will hear tonight that sheldon jeter is to
transfer to pitt dont know if he could play this year but will try for weaver if he does.
not 100 percent but maybe?

Comment by FRANKCAN 05.17.13 @ 3:39 pm

spirit i think it did not help adams to show every one how good he was and i think we would have won more games if he was used right and if it is a jab at the coach so be it,
he does not walk on water and is a big boy and he can take a jab does that mean i want a different coach no i dont.

but i think he does better with his kind of player better for him better for the players
that dont fit what he wants to do.

i know you dont like what i say but read Wbb
he made my point and he is fair.

Comment by FRANKCAN 05.17.13 @ 4:09 pm

Adams to the Celtics first round

Comment by 63 team 05.17.13 @ 4:51 pm

jeter is transfering but did not say were he is goinging i was half right.
my be us who knows

Comment by FRANKCAN 05.17.13 @ 4:57 pm

63 team hope you are right i like the celtics

Comment by FRANKCAN 05.17.13 @ 5:00 pm

wbb ,You are right Woodall carried us when he played well ,but the Wichata St. game was the worst I ever saw him play and he was horrible. I probably have a worse image of his overall contribution because he was so very bad in that one game. FRANKCAN I never said I don’t like what you say and I think you take my contrarian viewpoint too personally. Actually, to some degree your point about Dixon doing better with 3 star types has merit. I thought your analogy was too harsh whereas wbb thought it was great. Just my viewpoint and his I am sure.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 05.17.13 @ 5:08 pm

I agree w wbb wholeheartedly. the only one not surprised by SA’s performance is HCJD. Did he use him improperly. NO he gave him all he could handle. Just wait come tip off next year SA will “regress” as the competition goes live to the uneducated eye, but the Jerry West, Danny Ange, Mitch Kupchak et al’s of the world know that he is a POTENTIAL monster and they will put the time into him & enable him to find his way in the association. I cant understand why everyone seems to have lost a grip on our reality. All valid criticisms aside HCJD is a victim of his own success. Birch was a locker room virus, HCJD had a zero tolerance for it from day one & it didn’t take long for the kid to realize that his act wasnt going to cut it – exit stage left (& that cost us 2 ballplayers right there remember), Gibbs (perhaps the mistake HCJD made that noone talks about) was given every opportunity to get buckets & when the chips were down (along with woodall) he appeared to sulk & was seemingly unwilling to adjust his game to help the team (convinced the next level was waiting for him) not HCJD’s fault, Zigs dad gets canned – duke, mich & ucla offers – HCJD throws his hat in the ring & lands the kid – he lays an egg – exit stage left, epps & jj arguably shouldve never been recruited perhaps (they essentially got cut), Gilbert – chalk that up to an example of a 19 yo enigma (at worse he couldve been gary mcgee & at best aaron gray – now hes playing with his brother not JD’s fault). He does everything he can to get #44 in the game – based upon the tradition he has developed in HIS system the kid should’ve/could’ve been a nasir/jaron type (neither one of them ever cared what position they played, as long as they played & play the did!) – instead he never stepped up all season long & had clear personal issues- he couldnt endure – exit stage left. cam wright is about to get passed over by jones & johnson (not to mention newkirk & perhaps kane) – he will more than likely see the writing on the wall & end up playing close to home for the zips (where he should excel). Taylor & Woodall whom many are so quick to critique based on some terribly apparent limitations did nothing but toe the line for the program & in return earned their degree from a great university, I will remember them both fondly & appreciate the way they handled their business. Now we have a kid who came here for a year & excelled in the eyes of the people that matter, so much so that they may reward him with generational wealth. This my friends is a positive for the program. Dont get me wrong, I would like to see a little tempo added to his style & certainly he must break through to the final four. But, isnt the glass half full??? Go steve – you are doing the right thing! I will miss seeing you in Oakland selfishly but will take pride in watching you be all you can be! h2p

Comment by ptbreezeb 05.17.13 @ 5:29 pm

spirtofsection22 i got it sorry if i seamed harsh
did not mean to.
but i really do think he does better with players he has to coach up.
bye the time they are JR they know his system and are really good as SR.
AND thoes kind of 3 stars are glad they had a offer from pitt it is just my point of view but i think he understands thoes kind of players
and they fit what he wants to do .

Comment by FRANKCAN 05.17.13 @ 5:36 pm

I wish Adams all the best. It’ll still always be disappointing to me that we really never got to see more than a few short glances at what Adams might become some day.

A lot of that was because of his inexperience and adjusting to the style and tremendous competition increase. But do not kid yourselves either, he was not always put into the best position to maximize his talent and benefit the team.

He should’ve been a solid low post player, but it never once appeared that the JD and the team specifically made it a point to feed him on the block, especially in the Non-con portion of the schedule. By the time BE play roled around, he didn’t have any confidence built up…

Thinking back to Howland and the early days of Dixon, that was the bread and butter, feed it to Taft, Gray, heck even Chevy Troutman and of course Blair. Let them develop that part of their game. This NEVER happened with Adams, and it’s a damn shame.

Comment by Kenny Powers 05.17.13 @ 11:30 pm

I’m in the minority here, I wish coach Dixon would not have wasted an investment in Adams. There are plenty of American players who would still be around to help Pitt compete in the ACC. I’m not one in favor of seeing Pitt be a farm club for the NBA or NFL. Maybe I’m selfish. I’d rather see Pitt be competitive and lose than win with one and done players the likes of KY.

Comment by MariettaMike 05.18.13 @ 7:22 am

FRANKCAN, When you put it that way I agree and think you are hitting the nail on the head accurate. I hope he can pull a few more Wannamaker/Brown types out of the hat with next years group. Do you think the failed team 2 years ago had cancer that had some carry over this past season?

Comment by spiritofsection 22 05.18.13 @ 8:30 am

spiritfsection22 i wonder someting happened
something is or was wrong .
we have never had so many players jump ship at once
or forced out.
i would really like to know what is or went wrong.
did he recruit a bunch of bad players did they get tired of his system.
was it his ASST coachs i dont know but wish i did

Comment by FRANKCAN 05.18.13 @ 9:46 am

F,Things quit making sense to me 2 years ago when Gibbs went from being an unreal go to guy, to a hot dog stiff. This all happened between his junior and senior seasons. I am still amazed that Zanna hasn’t ever come close to his potential,he was the same player as a redshirt freshman as he is now. Combine that with the mystery of why we never leaned on Adams and I am lost as to what the problems are. None of the transfers besides Birch bother me because none of those players are anything to worry about losing. The problem is we are losing those type of players in bunches now. Something is wrong and Dixon’s inner program is top secret so we are left to guess. My guess is control freak, D driven style, and no tolerance for anything less than his vision of how things get done. That is purely a guess though and I would love to see someone speak up who has any inside knowledge. At $2.4m I expect him to deliver an NCAA team at least so he met the minimum requirement last year. It should be fun to see how he pulls it off this year. Recent developments aren’t very encouraging.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 05.18.13 @ 11:56 am

spiritofsection22 i dont get it myself but did things start to go south abought the time he
brought birch here i cant remmber was that when it started i am not sure maybe.

Comment by FRANKCAN 05.18.13 @ 1:57 pm

Gibbs went south at the same time Birch came. Gibbs supposedly was never the same after the NBA told him he needed to develop some ball handling skills and stay in school for his senior year. We would have been better off without him. I don’t think things have been right since. The year before we were every bit as good a team as UConn who won it all with Kemba and company. Now it seems no one wants to stay here and no one wants to play here. Maybe JD can turn it around with some new faces.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 05.18.13 @ 2:31 pm

I agree with most bloggers that Pitt’s chemistry did not engender a winning attitude. Maybe it was the long bench that kept someone from stepping up to a leadership role. Adams’ publicity was way too over hyped and did not help team spirit. But Pitt enters a new chapter joining the ACC. Lets hope their first year in the ACC will be fun for Pitt’s team and that they play with emotion and toughness.

Comment by MariettaMike 05.18.13 @ 5:38 pm

Gibbs went sour when Dixon didn’t trust Epps to play PG and used him instead there, wasting his senior year as far as developing his SG game to impress the scouts.

Dixon IMO is starting to look to his players like a coach who only cares for himself and his own record and not preparing his student athletes for their professional careers…..I think that one of the reasons why a lot of guys are leaving….Adams & Moore included.

Comment by Jackagain 05.19.13 @ 1:49 pm

Jackagain – you have it backwards. Gibbs got upset when Dixon didn’t trust him to play point guard. The scouts told Gibbs he needed to be a 1 to play in the league and he found out early in the year he wasn’t good enough offensively or defensively.

Sam Young, Aaron Gray, and all the guys playing in Europe are just find w JD. Pitt just hasn’t had much NBA talent.

Comment by denny 05.19.13 @ 8:36 pm

Denny….I didn’t say that Gibbs was NBA talent….he never was. I was just saying why he was sour on Dixon and his final year. Even he knew he wasn’t quick enough to play PG even in Europe.

His only hope was his shot….he needed also to work on creating his own shot. Can’t do that when all you’re doing is passing the ball to someone…

Comment by Jackagain 05.19.13 @ 9:28 pm

Jackagain, You raise a good point, how much should the coach consider a players professional future when making coaching decisions? Should his first responsibility be to the teams success or the individual players? Should the players individual career be a factor, or should the teams needs be the only consideration?

Comment by spiritofsection 22 05.20.13 @ 1:10 pm

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