Anyone that was still wondering if Pitt’s Steven Adams made the right decision when he declared for the 2013 NBA Draft got their answer Thursday night.
Yes he did.
After one season as a Panther, the much heralded Adams turned himself into a lottery pick when the Oklahoma City Thunder selected him with the No. 12 overall pick.
Adams becomes the first Pitt player drafted in the first round since the Indiana Pacers selected Vonteego Cummings at No. 26 in 1999. His selection at No. 12 marks the second highest NBA Draft pick for a Pitt player behind Charles Smith, who was taken at No. 3 in 1988.
The 19-year-old big man from New Zealand is a raw prospect, but he’s one of the most intriguing talents in the draft.
Adams didn’t put up the numbers maybe everyone expected while at Pitt, but he showed what all of the hype was about during the NBA Combine and individual workouts, where almost every team came away impressed.
In terms of the Thunder, Adams couldn’t ask for a better situation to walk into as a rookie.
Being that the Thunder already have plenty of scoring options on the roster, the addition of Adams makes sense. He should have plenty of time to develop his raw offensive game and come into his own at the next level.
However he is physical enough and has the athleticism and length to make an impact at the defensive end of the floor as a rookie.
Adams helps solidify the paint with Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins already in the fold for the Thunder.
The Thunder came into the draft looking for a big man with upside who eventually will turn into the long-term replacement for Perkins. They found their guy in Adams.
Personally I love this pick for the Thunder, even if it won’t pay immediate dividends to their championship goals.
Adams is a great energy guy, showing off constant hustle and athleticism. He has all the tools and while he could spend some time in the D-League this year, he will contribute at times in the NBA in terms of defending and rebounding. He won’t contribute much offensively during the 2013-14 season, but that will come. he’s simply too talented for it not to.
The Pittsburgh product is a long-term project, but his massive body contains a ton of potential. He can fill in certain roles right away, and he could be a star down the road.
Adams was often criticized for leaving Pitt after his freshman campaign, but by being the No. 12 pick in the draft, he just earned himself a contract in the $6 million range.
I think he made the right choice.