The Memphis Grizzlies were tied for 16th in offensive efficiency in the 2013-14 season, and ranked 18th the previous year. Needless to say, the Grizzlies have been a middle-of-the-pack team offensively for a while.
But Jordan Adams can help the Grizzlies get out of this rut.
As a collective group, most of Grizz Nation asked, "Who's that guy?" when Adams was selected at Memphis' 22nd pick in the draft. For me, this guy had totally been off the radar. Many thought of PJ Hairston or Cleanthony Early as the 22nd pick. Where did this Adams come from? What were the Grizzlies thinking, using such a valuable pick on this unknown?
And then we all took a glance at his history. Adams averaged 17.4 PPG last season with UCLA, along with 5.3 rebounds and 2.6 steals. He's 6'5" and lost some weight this offseason as he now weighs 209 lbs, so that should help his athleticism, of which he somewhat lacks.
But you're not convinced, right? Well, take a look at his Summer League stats. He averaged 14.8 PPG (His first two performances were back-to-back 20 point performances, I might add). Plus, he shot over 90% from the free throw line. Due to the sudden drop off in free throw percentage from the Grizzlies later last year, this stat of Adams' is particularly comforting.
But what makes him special? How does he play beyond the numbers?
Barring trade, we'll get to see Adams in action for at least several years. And this will allow time for the wing to develop. Fortunately, he already has many of the tools to assist in the Grizzlies' offensive game. First of all, he can really shoot; plain and simple. I'm talking about the kind of shooting that hard work and raw talent produce. For instance, he holds the honor of being No. 42 on UCLA's all time scoring list after cashing in 1,131 points overall. (Three-pointers are always a welcome sight, right Grizz Nation?)
Adams made 83.6% of his 189 free throw attempts, which shows his aggressiveness to get the fouls called in his favor and his ability to cash them in . To go further, a trait that is also greatly valuable is his capability to finish at the rim. Adams already has an assertive position around the block and takes advantage of his strength by backing the opponent down and going to the basket strong. His off ball movement is impressive as he constantly cuts to the basket and finds a gap in the defense for the easy bucket.
Jordan Adams, while averaging 5.3 rebounds at UCLA, grabbed 192 total last season. He's excellent on the offensive boards as he had 67 of them this previous year. And we all know that these offensive rebounds can earn the Grizzlies' much needed possessions, as Memphis ranked 30th in offensive possessions per 48 minutes the previous season. His long arms and eagerness to grab the offensive or defense board help in the gritty world of rebounding, too. Just imagine him and Jarnell Stokes battling against the opponents for rebounding. For me, that's an exciting thought.
Adams' quickness on defense is displayed as he snatched the ball from his defenders an impressive 95 times last season. He may not be particularly athletic, but he already seems to have great instincts, sneaky anticipation, and smooth moves.
And let's not forget a veteran Vince Carter is coming to give the Grizzlies a helping hand on offense. This will be vital to Adams' development, as Carter surely has some wise words to share with the young rookie. For a slowly aging Grizzlies team, a young scorer such as Adams is a great assurance.
Memphis has been in need of outside shooting for years. Though many were surprised by the Grizzlies' choice, Jordan Adams' offensive capabilities and quickness on defense cannot be overlooked.
He's a freakishly good scorer, and that's just what Memphis needs to elevate its offense.