Boston Celtics: Steven Adams
Scalabrine, the former Celtic and cult figure (turned television analyst), suggested earlier this month during a local radio appearance that Boston should consider Adams with its lone pick -- No. 16 overall -- in next month's NBA draft. Scalabrine raved about the long-term potential of the 19-year-old 7-footer out of New Zealand, calling him a "freak athlete" and comparing him favorably to former Chicago teammate Omer Asik.
Scalabrine is somewhat biased, having worked out with Adams in advance of the draft, but his glowing review is seemingly one being adopted by talent evaluators across the league. Adams is climbing draft boards this week and ESPN.com draft guru Chad Ford shuffled him up to a potential lottery pick (landing at 13th overall in Ford's top 100; third at his position).
Adams was the top-ranked prospect among 12 players Boston auditioned in pre-draft workouts at their training facility in recent days. After showcasing a better-than-expected offensive game at the draft combine in Chicago, Adams has caught the attention of teams across the league.
So what exactly has Scalabrine been teaching him?
"He’s been up against NBA players, so he knows how they play," said Adams. "He’s just been showing me, not tricks, but the basic fundamentals of NBA play. Like, you can get away with a lot more physicality and throwing a lot more [elbows] around. He’s just showing me that side of things and separation on the court. How to use the 3-point line."
One season after Boston drafted a pair of bigs (Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo) in the first round, Adams comes with the Melo-like tag of being a potential long-term project. He averaged 7.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2 blocks over 23.4 minutes per game as a freshman at Pittsburgh this past season, but his pure size and athleticism -- along with a relentless motor -- make him an intriguing target.
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