Steven Adams, the 7-foot freshman big man from New Zealand, is leaving Pittsburgh after just one year.
Projected as a mid-first round pick in this summer’s NBA draft, it is his size that has scouts excited and GMs wanting him, not his production and performance he displayed while at Pitt.
During his freshman season he averaged: 7.2 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game while playing 23.4 minutes per game.
He is all potential at this point, because what he showed at Pittsburgh wasn’t all that impressive. While his size was a significant factor while out on the court, he struggled often on both ends of the floor. His offensive game is raw with minimal fundamental skill around the rim and awkward coordination at times. He was also a poor free throw shooter – shooting only 44% from the line. He was a force on defense, but again, his coordination and lack of experience cost him as he often found himself in foul trouble.
Adams struggled with the basketball transition from New Zealand to prep school in the United States, and also struggled with the game in the transition from prep school to college. So how do you think he is going to fair with the transition to the NBA?
This situation reminds me a lot of the Fab Melo situation and Syracuse from a year ago. Melo was desired at the professional level because of his size, but could have greatly benefitted from another year at the college level to work on his fundamentals and compete with players of similar skill. Melo has barely sniffed the floor in the NBA, playing only five games for the Boston Celtics this year. Adams is another prime example of a player who should be patient and who could really use another year in college hoops to improve his skills.
However, Adams does come from a very large family (18 total siblings!) and there are reports that this weighed into his decision as he wants to help support his family.
I tend to support those who opt to move on to make a living and I especially support someone who is doing it to help others, so I have no problem with Adams’ decision. But I think it is fairly obvious that he could have used more time in the college game to develop.