This is not a strong draft. If you have been following the NBA draft chatter since April, you have been hearing this. Expect to hear plenty more of it in the next 36 hours (leading up to and after the draft). As such, Steven Adams is sitting at the end of the lottery. Most projections have him going anywhere from 7 to 14. 10-12 being the most reasonable zone.
Depending on who you want to read, Adams is either undervalued or overvalued.
If he goes in the lottery … Steven Adams
Considering all of [Alex] Len’s flaws, how can a really poor man’s version of Len sneak into the top 14? Didn’t any scouts watch Pitt play this past season? Adams is raaaaaaaaaw. If he didn’t get stuff off the offensive glass, he barely got touches in the Panthers’ offense. He has poor hands. Even in a draft with this many question marks, the lottery is way, way too high for a long-term project like Adams.
Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh — Adams is a just a perfect specimen. He can run, jump, catch and can even shoot a little, and though he struggled to break through in his only year at Pitt, some of that was due to the Panthers’ guards not sharing the ball, and the depth up front that Pitt had. Adams needs to develop, but the positive signs are there.
Yeah, that helps.
Here’s the thing. It’s not if Adams is overrated or underrated. Or if he should go that high. He almost certainly will. He’s loaded with potential, and in a draft that has no sure things, you are not wrong late in the lottery to roll the dice on a guy with such a high ceiling. If Adams takes longer to develop or is even a bust, he’s hardly the first or last. Especially in the second half of the lottery.
Regular readers know all about Finch. He is an amalgam of five NBA scouts whom I talked to in recent weeks to get their insights into the main college prospects in this year’s draft. Since NBA teams don’t like to give away secrets (as if there are any), the scouts spoke with me on the condition that I would grant them anonymity. This also allowed them to tell me what they really think. I’ll warn you now: It isn’t always pretty.
(Incidentally, I must give credit as always to my colleague Alex Wolff for coming up with the pseudonym Finch. Several years ago, he assigned it to an anonymous scout whom he followed for several months for an SI magazine story. Alex, he of the literary bent, chose the name because it was the character Scout’s surname in To Kill A Mockingbird.)
I cherry picked the highlights of what the scouts had to say and gathered them as if they were said by a single person named Finch. Can you feel the draft? Good. Here’s what Finch had to say about this year’s crop. It’s everything you need to know from A (Adams) to Z (Zeller):
Steven Adams, 7-foot center, Pittsburgh: “You see him work out and he does some things athletically at that size that are impressive. He’s a funny kid. Different personality than we’re used to dealing with. He had no clue how to play. Remember, he’s from New Zealand. It’s not like he came from Lithuania, where the culture centers around basketball. He grew up on a surfboard.”
He’s handled everything well to this point. His interviews have been solid. He’s been personable. And for Pitt partisans, he has said nothing but glowing things about Pitt and Coach Jamie Dixon. And Jamie Dixon will join the trend of college coaches being on-hand (and on-camera) at the Draft to “support” their player getting drafted.
I’m looking forward to the Big Kiwi’s big night.