VOL. 129 | NO. 127 | Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Grizzlies Cite Analytics in Adams Pick
By Don Wade
On draft night, as the questions from reporters all implied the Grizzlies maybe had reached in taking UCLA shooting guard Jordan Adams at No. 22, interim general manager Chris Wallace went right to the A-word.
Wallace said Adams graded high in “analytics.” But the funny thing was that former Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes, whom the Grizzlies acquired from the Utah Jazz on draft night after they used the No. 35 overall pick on him, made the same point about Adams that Wallace did – only in a more straight-forward way.
“He doesn’t look as athletic as his numbers say he is,” said Stokes, who was on the AAU circuit at the same time as Adams. “He just finds a way to get it done.”
Wallace called Adams a “productive, winning player at UCLA the last two years.”
When vice president of basketball operations John Hollinger, who has been using the A-word longer than most, breaks Adams down it sounds like this: “He was hugely productive at a very young age, a very high basketball IQ, a lot of toughness, an ability to score in a variety of ways and an ability to impact the game in a variety of ways.”
Stealth efficiency, in other words.
“I think he’s going to surprise people with just on how many different levels he can impact the game and find ways to score and score without needing the ball (in his hands first),” Hollinger said.
Adams, who turns 20 on July 8, goes 6-5 and 209 pounds – a 20-pound drop from his heaviest playing weight. In total, he played 69 games at UCLA and averaged 16.4 points and 4.6 rebounds with 2.1 assists. He shot 46.7 percent from the floor and finished with a school-record 2.43 steals per game.
In two years, Adams shot 33.1 percent from 3-point range for the Bruins (98-for-296), but he was 83.9 percent from the free-throw line.
“His shot’s gotten better and better,” said Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger. “I like his form. I think you’re looking at a guy that will shoot in the 40s from three before too long.”
For his part, Adams accepts the current label as a player who is not overly athletic but also vows that he will work on enhancing his athleticism going forward. Part of his motivation: proving to doubters that what Stokes said is true; he finds a way to get it done.
“There’s always room for improvement,” Adams said. “So with that, there’s always that chip on your shoulder.”
If the Grizzlies don’t move one of their shooting guards, Adams may have difficulty finding the floor as a rookie. Courtney Lee, Tony Allen and Quincy Pondexter all stand in front of him at this point, although Allen and Pondexter can play the three, too.
Speaking of both Adams and Stokes, Joerger said: “Maybe their time is this year, maybe it’s at Christmas, maybe it’s at the end of year, and maybe it’s in two years. Hopefully, it’s sooner rather than later.”