Jordan Adams is an instinctual basketball player, plain and simple. In two seasons with the UCLA Bruins, the shooting guard averaged better than 15 points per game, and as a senior those numbers came to 17.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Adams does a lot with little, using his body — he slimmed down to 210 pounds at the combine — to create enough space to get off shots in the paint and get his hips by defenders. He can make the right pass, has a solid time rebounding the ball and also uses those instincts on defense. This year, he averaged 2.6 steals per game.
Everything Adams does well is even more impressive considering his lacking athleticism. He was the worst amongst guards with a max vertical leap that didn’t hit 30 inches, and that could make NBA squads hesitant about how his slashing ability will translate to the pro game. Adams shot 35.6 percent from three his sophomore season with the Bruins but could stand to develop a more consistent jumper. His poor athleticism also could make him struggle to score from the perimeter.
Though he’s not as dynamic of a playmaker as former Portland Trail Blazers and fellow Pac-12 product Brandon Roy, Adams exhibits some of the same traits as the former Washington Husky guard, though he didn’t have the experience in college basketball to quite grow the same winning reputation. Yet, Adams showed signs of being a winner. His three-point shot against Arizona in this year’s Pac-12 Tournament Championship proved his mettle, but how he develops that knack further by being a young NBA player rather than the man at UCLA will be an interesting thing to see.
How he would fit with the Suns
Adams’ stock might fall somewhere between the Suns’ 18th and 27th picks, but should he fall could be one of the better players on the board with their final first-round selection. It wouldn’t be surprising for Phoenix to go with a draft-and-stash guy there, but Adams could convince Phoenix otherwise.
He’s a capable defender and a more traditional 2-guard who could help the Suns’ current backcourt by putting the ball on the deck. Phoenix does need a third player capable of running the pick-and-roll, and while Adams is a scorer first, he does have the ability and the handles to make the right plays working as a ball-handler. Adams isn’t a bad jump shooter and fundamentally has promise to get much better. He likely could find immediate success as a corner three-point specialist, but he’ll also be able to work off the ball — he’s active and skilled enough to score off off-ball screens and cuts to the basket. Though he might struggle to create his own shot, he would be a fine offensive threat working off Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe.