Jazz give no clues on draft, but Adams is intriguing

Jun 8 2013 - 11:28pm

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If anyone asks, you didn't hear this from me, OK?

Here, move in a litter closer and I'll whisper it to you.

Closer ... closer.

The Utah Jazz are going to take Pittsburgh 7-footer Steven Adams with 14th pick in the NBA draft. Keep that on the down-low, got it?

I know you're upset. Clearly, you're not happy. I can see it in your eyes.

You're asking yourself, "What's going on with these guys?"

You're wondering, "Have they gone insane?"

Sarcastically, you're thinking, "That sounds about right ..."

Wait, before you say something you're really going to regret, let me explain. I honestly have no idea what the Jazz are going to do with the Nos. 14, 21 and 46 picks in the NBA draft, which will take place later this month in Brooklyn.

They might use them to fill their roster, which will soon be depleted on account of free agency.

They might trade those two first-round picks to move up.

They might trade them to move down.

Unfortunately, they're not letting me in their war room, no matter how many times I knock.

You should know, however, that my theory on Adams -- a 7-foot, 250 pound mountain of a man, even though he's still only 19 years old -- isn't without foundation.

Admittedly, it's about as scientific as toenail clipping. But what it lacks in concrete evidence it more than makes up for with conjecture.

See, back in March, Adams and the Pitt Panthers came to Salt Lake City for the NCAA Tournament. They lost to No. 9-seed Wichita State in the first round and quietly went back home. But similarly to the way Gordon Hayward left an indelible impression when his Butler Bulldogs came through EnergySolutions Arena in March of 2010, Adams seemed to have something special about him.

Hayward, of course, was a bit older and a great deal more experienced in the game. Whatever he displayed inside their home arena caught the Jazz's attention and they eventually took him with the No. 9 overall pick in the draft that summer.

Adams, who hails from New Zealand, is a relative newcomer to the game. But anyone who saw him surely noticed the way he bounded up and down the floor with such raw athleticism and power, like a man among boys.

Although I'm not a scout by any means, it was easy to see Adams had an "it factor" that separated him from the others, even though his time on the floor was limited.

I remember turning to a colleague on press row and saying, "The Jazz might want to take a look at that guy."

The funny thing is, I remember saying the same thing about Hayward a few years earlier.

It's probably just a coincidence, right?

As they move toward the draft, the Jazz's biggest need is point guard, not center. They already have a couple of young bigs in Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors. They couldn't possibly want another, could they?

Of course they could. Having too many big guys in the NBA is like having too many dollar bills in your wallet. When sitting on them gets too uncomfortable, they're easy to cash in.

Since his last trip to Salt Lake, Adams decided to take his 7.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and two blocked shots a game and head to the NBA. He raised some eyebrows at the recent predraft combine and impressed the Jazz in his individual workout last week.

His stock in on the rise.

Look, I've got no inside information here. My theory on Steven Adams is just that: a theory.

But with two spots in the first 21 picks, the Jazz might just reach for him. And he might well be a good fit.

But you didn't hear it from me, OK?

Jim Burton is the Standard-Examiner's sports columnist. He can be reached at 801-625-4265 or at jburton@standard.net. He tweets at http://twitter.com/jmb247

 

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