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NBA Draft 2013: Steven Adams scouting report

Pittsburgh's Steven Adams is the draft's biggest project, but the team that drafts him could benefit if they are willing to wait and let him develop.

Andy Lyons

SB Nation is posting scouting reports of each prospect in the 2013 NBA Draft. Learn more about Pittsburgh big man Steven Adams

NAME: Steven Adams.

SCHOOL: Pittsburgh.

AGE ON DRAFT NIGHT: 19 years, 11 months.


MEASUREMENTS: 7'0, 255 pounds, 7'4.5 wingspan, 9'1.5 standing reach.


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2012 - Steven Adams 32 23.4 3.1 5.5 57.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 2.2 44.3 2.8 3.5 6.3 0.6 1.1 0.7 2.0 1.6 7.2

RELEVANT ADVANCED STATS: 15.3% offensive rebounding percentage this season. Most college big men found it difficult to box him out.


NBA CEILING: Brendan Haywood.

NBA FLOOR: Patrick O'Bryant.


It's been a long road from New Zealand to the NBA for Steven Adams. After his father died when he was 13, he was taken in by several of his 17 older siblings, including a sister who has won two gold medals in the shot-put.

Unfortunately, due to the relatively low level of competition in the islands, Adams is an incredibly raw basketball player. Still only 19, he averaged seven points, six rebounds and two blocks a game on 57 percent shooting for Pittsburgh this season. Were it not for money issues in his family, it's unlikely he would have declared for the draft. As a result, he is a project in every sense of the word.

At 7'0 and 255 pounds with a 7'4 wingspan, Adams is a massive human being who moves his feet well for a player his size. His defensive potential is off-the-charts. He has the strength to hold position on the low block, the length to play above the rim and the speed to hedge on the pick-and-roll. The problems come on the offensive end of the floor, where Adams looked years away from contributing to an NBA team. He doesn't have much of a feel for playing with his back to the basket, unsurprising since he rarely faced players his size in New Zealand.

In the last few weeks, Adams has shot up draft boards, mainly on the strength of the shooting displays he put on in individual workouts. However, considering how little touch he displayed in college, it seems like a stretch to think he'll be a threat from 15+ feet out, at least early in his career. His size could allow him to contribute on the glass right away, but unless he picks up the nuances of NBA defense quickly, he's unlikely to crack a rotation early in his career.

Adams is a classic boom or bust prospect. Whoever drafts him should send him to the D-League with eyes wide open. He might not make it back.



Cardiac Hill, SB Nation's Pittsburgh blog:

Adams is a very solid defender and rebounds well. And as I mentioned, he should fit in well with a team that likes to get out and run. I see him as a high energy guy once he gets acclimated and if nothing else, he should be able to contribute in those areas fairly soon. The downside is that his offense in a halfcourt set is a ways away. As I mentioned, he'll get some points off of putbacks, but don't expect him to create too many of his own shots just yet. And even while he'll score some on putbacks, he'll also miss his fair share of point blank shots. Adams often was able to pad his rebounding stats a little by missing layups inside and grabbing the misses ... and that will certainly drive fans a little crazy.

Canis Hoopus:

Adams is a nice but boring prospect who looks to be appropriately climbing draft boards. He blocks shots and has found some limited success scoring at the rim. After the combine he measures out close to the other big-stiff prospect (Len) but is younger and produced better across the defensive stats. He may go in the top ten and it is difficult to fault whichever team pulls the trigger.

Fear the Sword:

Go ahead and call us prisoners of the moment, but I'm not sure there was a more impressive player at the combine this week. Adams' measurements confirmed what the naked eye already knew: this kid is huge. He's really young, has great athleticism, and already has an NBA body. He shot the ball a lot better than we expected and has tremendous upside. We're entering a tier that could really get interesting and we think Adams has enough potential to put him right at the top of this next level of players.

Blog a Bull:

Sometimes life is really easy.



Nerlens Noel


Anthony Davis


Steven Adams


Andre Drummond




These are the top four centers at physically impacting the game over the last three years. Adams is obviously in elite company. He is also huge, strong, young and athletic. It's pretty simple: he should be a lottery pick. He is currently slated to go 16th according to I doubt he makes it to 16 much less 20, but if he does it's a no-brainer.

Celtics Blog:

I'm really not as high on Steven Adams as most people are. Sure, he has the body...but what else? He has absolutely no fundamentals on offense or defense and has a long way to go to be a part of an NBA rotation. Right now he is nothing but potential...yet has he even proven that he has high upside? Offensively, he has stone hands and has hard time catching some passes, making him a liability on that end. That won't change. He has all the physical tools to be a great defensive player yet he lacks any understanding of team defense, is indecisive in the pick-and-roll, and doesn't box out when rebounding. He's just far too undeveloped right now for me to rank him any higher. The only reason he gets this ranking is because he has a true NBA body at only 19 years old.

For more coverage, visit SB Nation's NBA Draft 2013 section.