The SLC Dunk team is profiling all the prospects who could be in the neighborhood of where the Utah Jazz are drafting at pick #24. The four categories that we’re making our evaluations are Strengths, Weaknesses, Jazz DNA, and Fit.
Edrice “Bam” Adebayo is one of the latest one-and-done players to roll through the University of Kentucky. While certainly wasn’t the best, he wasn’t anything to sneeze at. He posted good numbers (13 points, 8 rebounds, 1.5 blocks) and anchored the frontcourt of an Elite Eight team. So Adebayo is not someone to overlook.
Adebayo’s nickname, Bam, is pretty indicative of how he plays. A physically imposing bigman perfectly content to overpower you.
Has all the physical tangibles
Standing 6’9.75” (in shoes), with a wingspan of 7’2.75” and weighing a muscular 242 pounds, Adebayo not only fits the mold of the modern NBA bigman, he IS the mold. And it isn’t just his size, he also has the speed, quickness and explosive leaping ability to make him an ideal physical specimen.
Offensive instincts and flashes
While far from a polished offensive player, Adebayo showed instincts you like to see out of an NBA bigman. He uses his size, strength and a little savvy to dominate opponents on the low block and get in position for easy buckets and offensive rebounds. And he has that Jeremy Evans-esque ability to get into the air quicker than others.
Adebayo took very few jump shots, but has passable form (for a big) and could work his way to becoming a mid-range shooter and face-up threat. He also has a workable hook-shot that, with his size and strength, could become a deadly weapon if worked on. When inside the key, Adebayo welcomes physicality and uses it to his advantage, drawing fouls and finishing through contact.
With his body, Adebayo has All-NBA defensive potential. He has decent timing on his shot-blocking and the strength to hold off post-ups, allowing him to defend larger bigs. And his quickness allows him to switch onto most players (a valuable skill in the modern NBA).
Lacks defensive mindset
Adebayo might have great offensive instincts, he does not have them on the defensive end or at least did not display them at Kentucky.
He lacks consistency and high motor. His defensive rebounding was poor, an apparent lack of effort, especially considering his prowess on the offensive glass. The lack of effort and lack of defensive IQ puts an asterisk on his defensive potential.
Limited offensive potential
Outside of the paint, Adebayo is useless. He displayed no perimeter skills whatsoever besides being a decent pick-and-roll target. He made just three jump-shots in 2016-17 per Mike Schmitz. And he was a poor passer at best, lacking the vision and ability to find even wide open cutters.
When in the paint (his area of strength), Adebayo depends too much on power with little finesse. He lacks polish in any aspect of his offensive game, which will make it hard for him to carve out a niche in the NBA, even with his physical tools.
Adebayo may fit the mold of an NBA big, but he doesn’t quite fit the mold of a Jazzman. He isn’t a defense-first player. He consistently gives more effort on offense than defense, even though he has the tools to become the next Draymond Green. Plus, considereing he opted to play at the big-ticket program of Kentucky, he might not like Utah and its lack of “nightlife” or whatever.
Adebayo doesn’t bring anything to the Jazz that they don’t already have in other in-house options. Gobert and Derrick Favors cover all of the defensive potential he could bring. At his offensive peak, Adebayo would be as good as Favors is right now, and Trey Lyles delivers even more offensive potential.
Where Adebayo might fit in is the role that Derrick Favors played in the playoffs. Adebayo can play either the 4 or the 5 and fill in for either Gobert or Favors off the bench. But while Adebayo’s body is ready to compete immediately in the NBA. His mind, however, isn’t, so there’s a limit to the role he could play next year in a somewhat crowded frontcourt.
The Utah Jazz should ...
Not draft Bam Adebayo because he brings nothing the Jazz can’t find elsewhere in the draft or on their current roster and his upside doesn’t justify “best player available” arguments.