When I found out I would be picking at the back of the first round, I was pretty excited. The latter stages of the draft are awesome from a managerial standpoint, because the expectations are muted and any bit of talent you can dig up is treated like the Ark of the Covenant. Anything that makes me feel smarter than I actually am is fine by me.
Getting to represent the franchise that bequeathed Sam Hinkie unto the Sixers is just an added bonus. In honor of the mastermind behind the Sixers rebuild, I'm going with the player who grades out tremendously according to the numbers: UCLA's Jordan Adams.
LB Draft Goodies
LB Draft Goodies
In most mock drafts centered around traditional scouting, Adams is being projected somewhere in the second half of the first round. Draft Express has him going to the Utah Jazz at 23, Chad Ford slates him to the Oklahoma City Thunder at 29, and Jeff Goodman has the Spurs scooping him with the 30th selection. That's about fair given a few of Adams' traits -- he's a below-average athlete and mostly a straight-line dribbler who won't be much of a creator for others professionally.
But statistically, Adams grades out at the top of the class. He ranks behind only Marcus Smart among domestic prospects in Kevin Pelton's projection system, grabbing a spot in the top five overall. That's due to several factors, chief among them his disruptive play on the defensive end (3.5 steals per 40) and his ability to get to the free-throw line. While athletically he's not where you want him to be, his 6'10" wingspan helps make up for his other physical limitations.
Daryl Morey is a well-known proponent of advanced statistics, so he's certainly well aware of Adams' grade in that regard. More importantly, Adams' excellent finishing and ability to score off-ball (particularly on cuts) would be a boon for the Rockets, who already have several high-usage stars in place. Having a high efficiency scorer (and willing defender) who can play without the ball is of massive importance for Houston.
I reached out to Allen Ojeda of The Dream Shake and asked for his thoughts on selecting Adams. Here's what he had to say:
I was hoping KJ McDaniels or Jusuf Nurkic would fall to us at #25, but Jordan Adams is the right pick here with them off the board. He will come in and immediately compete with Troy Daniels for minutes as the backup shooting guard. His versatility and play-style will fit in great with the Rockets' philosophy.
He drives the ball great, shooting 64% at the rim, he demands respect on his jumper (36.5% 3P%), and got to the line 7 times per-40 minutes. Those stats are music to Morey's ears. As well, he has a high IQ for cuts and angles on offense, playing in the free-lance Rockets offense will allow for him to make his own cuts and score off of them. 29% of his offense came in transition with UCLA last year, the Rockets will urge him to leak out get easy points in transition.
Lastly, he has great defensive potential, he gathered 3.5 steals per-40 in college, once he learns defensive discipline and the Rockets' scheme, he can be a disruptive force on that end.
Looks like we were totally on the same page. I really wanted K.J. at this spot, but Sohil had to come along and muck it all up.
Adams feels like one of those guys whose numbers we're going to look back at in retrospect and think, "Wow, what the hell were people thinking passing on him for his teammate that isn't actually good at basketball?" With the 25th selection in the draft, he's a no-brainer, particularly so for the Rockets.
Next up: the Miami Heat, led by
evil mastermind gentile accountant Sean O'Connor. Time's yours.