It was reported Friday morning by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the Atlanta Hawks would be using one of their two open two-way player contract slots to sign St. Bonaventure guard Jaylen Adams for the 2018-19 season. With that as the backdrop, he appears to be a part of the process long-term for the Hawks and, today, we want to take a look at what the former Atlantic 10 Player of the Year brings to the table.
Adams is a 6’2, 225-pound guard who is best known for his three point shooting prowess and sometimes flashy passing ability. This lines up with the common theme of the 2018 NBA Draft for the Hawks, which seems to be focused on bringing more three-point shooting and better playmaking to Atlanta.
Adams was on track to be possibly drafted late in the second round before a rough run at the Portsmouth Invitational tournament. Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated wrote about Adams in late May and gave him praise for being able to “score and set up teammates effectively” as well as being “adept at getting to the line and playing through contact despite his slight build.”
Ranges of opinions on Adams varied tremendously as The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie had him ranked No. 69 out of 100 prospects while Woo ranked Adams at No. 100 on his big board. So let’s take a deeper look of our own at Adams’ style to see what exactly fans in Erie and Atlanta will be seeing this season.
I think it is safe to say that Adams is certified to “get buckets.” After missing the first six games of his senior season at St. Bonaventure, Adams came back in a fury with two 40-point games against St. Louis and Duquesne. Adams ended his senior season as the fourth-leading scorer in the Atlantic 10 at 19.1 points per game while also posting 5.2 assists per game for good measure.
In one of his best games this season against Syracuse, Adams had all of his offensive skills on display while leading St. Bonaventure to a three-point win over the Orange.
Here you will see how he’s able to catch and get past his defender with a quick first step while also stopping on a dime to get off the tough floater.
In this clip, you’ll see an advanced feel for a shot fake and sidestep into an open off-the-dribble three pointer that shows a good release point and rotation on the ball.
Again, Adams shows a shot fake and gets his defender to fly by before a stepback three-pointer with no one near him.
Alright now this is just unfair. It should be noted that Adams will pull from anywhere.
As the first half comes to a close and the double team comes for Adams at the top of the arc, he’s able to show off that quick first step again and makes a nice finish at the rim through some very tough contact.
Here you’ll see some of Adams’ good vision as he times the lob beautifully for a nice finish.
Adams is lucky to not get stuck in the air on this play but the ability to get anything on this pass is quite amazing.
Finally, with the pressure all on Adams, he is able to calmly go to the line and sink two free throws to secure the win. Notice the tight rotation on his free throws as a good indicator that his shooting is the real deal. Adams shot 85.1 percent from the line his senior season.
Adam’s defensive ability is definitely his biggest weakness, another trend with the Hawks’ 2018 rookies thus far.
Here on this clip from the Syracuse game you’ll see his ability to fight through screens and to elevate for the block late in the game. A big time play when it mattered most.
This effort shown in the clip would need to be something that Lloyd Pierce and the coaching staff enforce with Adams if he is ever to be a long-term NBA player. He also has decent hands and, with his polish of being a four-year collegiate player, has some veteran prowess in passing lanes.
Adams is a fully capable scorer and if anything is going to keep him from having a good career, it’ll be defense. He definitely has the size to not get pushed around too much against opposing point guards; however, his ceiling on defense is most likely league average or slightly below.
Overall, this is a good gamble for Travis Schlenk and his front office staff, since Adams is instantly a better prospect than anyone to play on a two-way contract for the Hawks last season. He is a pure shooter and a knowledgeable passer.
We will see how his Summer League looks and, from there, he’ll likely see a bulk of the starts in Erie with the Bayhawks. It should also be noted that the Hawks do still have one two-way contract open and could fill it with another undrafted player (or Andrew White, who will reportedly play in Summer League) should they choose to do so.