clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Memphis Grizzlies 2016-2017 Player Previews: Jordan Adams

Is Jordan Adams real?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Here is what I wrote about Jordan Adams in my Grizzlies Book Club piece:

Adams is a victim of things outside his control, and perhaps some other things that were well within it. Either way, if Jordan Adams imagines himself as a swimmer swimming, to this point, his strokes have made few ripples.

The above is a paraphrase from the book I recommended Adams read. Said another way, Adams hasn't played much. He showed promise near the end of his rookie year, spending most of it buried on the bench of a deep (and arguably most talented in team history) Grizzlies roster. Minutes for a rookie were hard won.

Since then, Adams has barely been healthy, registering 263 total minutes in his first two years. Here is the list of non-centers, under twenty-two, who have played less than 263 minutes who performed at a level similar to Jordan Adams. Only two - PJ Tucker and Amir Johnson (who is sort of a center now) have stuck in the league. The rest are players who have, like Adams, made few ripples in the league so far.

In a recent injury update released by the Grizzlies, it was noted that Adams is still rehabbing from a cartilage transplant surgery in June.

He has not been cleared for court activity and is not expected to participate in training camp or the preseason. Currently there is no timetable for his return. He will be reevaluated weekly.

"Summer was good," Adams said. "I spent most of my rehab in Birmingham, Alabama at Champion Sports. They’re known for helping professional athletes get better – back faster, quicker, back to 100 percent. So that’s pretty much where I was at this whole summer just rehabbing, it was good."

I don't want to prescribe motive to editing, but the disparity in tone between the medical assessment and the beginning of Adams' quote is stark. Like Andy Dwyer's visit to the doctor and saying he's perfectly healthy except for a few little things.

In the last few years, the Grizzlies have cut bait quickly when young guys don't progress, and they may choose to do so again. The team must decide by October 31st whether they will pick up Adams $2.4mm team option for the 2017-2018 season, and it appears likely they will have to make that decision before even seeing Adams on the court.

Give that I don't have access to his medical records, and have more uncertainty, I would still pick up his option. The team has little ability to open meaningful cap space next summer, so the main opportunity cost to keeping Adams is a roster spot. If they had to they could still create $1.6mm in space next summer by stretching that $2.4mm down to just $800k for the next three summers. Even a 5% chance at a rotation player who you have restricted free agency rights on after the 2018 season is worth $800k.

The need to open a roster spot is a tad overstated (at least on Grizzlies twitter), with the decision coming down to an unhealthy Adams or local journeyman D.J. Stephens. The situation could also be remedied via trade, where Memphis could cobble together a couple non-guaranteed salaries to help another team dump longer term money in exchange for small assets (Nick Young comes to mind).

And Adams might still be good. When healthy, he showed active hands that generated deflections and steals. He also displayed good body control to move into and around defenders, drawing contact and fouls. A repeatable three point stroke made a cameo. Despite non-elite athleticism and very few minutes, the game was not too fast for him.

These were just flashes, and they might be all we ever get of Jordan Adams this season, and perhaps beyond.

Follow @sbngrizzlies