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Memphis Grizzlies: Jordan Adams needs to prove himself in 2016-17

(Editor’s Note: Jordan Adams had a surgery that has his timetable for return to the Memphis Grizzlies uncertain. He is out indefinitely.)

Fans and spectators have very high expectations for NBA players drafted in the first round. These high expectations yield short patience in the General Managers and Front Offices of each first-round draftee. Because patience runs thin in the modern NBA, Jordan Adams needs to have a big season in 2016-17.

When the Memphis Grizzlies selected Adams with the 22nd overall pick back in the 2014 NBA Draft, there were bigger names left on the board like Rodney Hood, Kyle Anderson, and Shabazz Napier. Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace selected the former UCLA Bruin guard because he is a “very, very high-level analytics player.”

The Grizzlies have had a history of drafting poorly. The Hasheem Thabeet selection back in 2009 is one of the biggest flops in NBA history. But Memphis has also missed on OJ Mayo, Kyle Lowry, Hakim Warrick, Xavier Henry, DeMarre Caroll, and Donte Greene.

Draft after draft, Wallace was turning up empty, and it became clear that something needed to change soon. Adams was supposed to be the player that every team would regret passing up. But back in the present, in true Grizzlies fashion, it became clear that Adams’ time soon may come to an end after Memphis selected Wade Baldwin IV.

It’s hard to measure Adams’ value due to the fact that he’s missed a lot of games with injuries. Adams showed a lot of promise in his college career. He displayed his ability to get to the line, made free throws at an 84 percent rate, and became UCLA’s all-time leader in steals. He finished his final year at UCLA with a 28.3 PER, another reason to keep believing of Adams’ development.

His NBA career has been a disappointment up until now, but Grizzly fans should remain hopeful; Adams has the talent and upside to make himself successful. He played 30 games in 2014-15, but had a per-36 minute stat line of 14 points, four rebounds, and 2.5 steals per game. In 2015-16 those numbers jumped to 17-5-7, although it was in an even smaller sample size of only two games. Oh, yeah...Adams is only 22-years-old.

Adams played those two games before hurting cartilage in the same knee he received surgery on last August after tearing the meniscus in an offseason workout. He had surgery in this January before a lengthy rehab program trying to return to basketball. Adams couldn't play without pain, which required a cartilage transplant in June.

"It's tough because I was looking forward to getting some run and a lot of action in the preseason," Adams said. "They want to make sure I'm 100 percent and that there won't be any setbacks during next season."

Will Jordan Adams play next season? The Grizzlies have Tony Allen, Baldwin, Chandler Parsons, Troy Daniels, and Vince Carter occupying the wing positions right now. The Grizzlies' shooting guard spot remains deep despite the losses of Matt Barnes and Lance Stephenson. Adams has shown his potential in the NBA D-League. As a 21-year-old, he recorded 18.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 31.9 minutes in 11 appearances over five assignments with the Memphis Grizzlies’ affiliate, the Iowa Energy. Adams’ best bet might be to stay with the Energy as he continues to work his way back.

It's no secret that the talent is there for Jordan Adams. He has tons of potential as a perimeter defender and scorer. The Grizzlies exercised the third-year option on Adams’ contract. In what is now a contract year, this upcoming season is even more important for the young Grizzly.