I’ve long felt that Jordan Adams is a tremendous basketball player. And then yesterday afternoon happened.
I was meandering through KenPom, looking at the percentage of minutes played lists. I was curious which players were getting run into the ground by their coaches. This endeavor lead me to the discovery that there are only 3 players taller than 6’6″ on the top-100 of %min played list. Big men can’t run. But back to Adams.
The primary Player Stats page defaults to ORtg and I saw Jordan Adams at the top of it. I didn’t think too much of it as I spend a lot of time around Pac-12 stats and he tends to be at the top of a lot of lists. What’s more, he’s alphabetically inclined to top lists. But as I dug down my %min worm hole, I realized that Jordan Adams was atop the national ORtg list.
My oh my that’s impressive. I’ve said it in many places but Jordan is one of my favorite players in the conference and it came as no major surprise that he led in this category. Last season he put up a highly respectable 114.9 ORtg which out ORtg’d even the great Shabazz Muhammad.
Now quickly let us be clear that he leads in ORtg amongst players with at least 28% of possessions used. Which is to say that he’s the best offender amongst the players making the most offense.
But here’s where things begin to get interesting.
We’ve all raved about Adams’ mid-range game. And it’s good. He built last season’s formidable 114.9 rating by taking 39% of his shots in that range. Like we said, he’s a sound mid-ranger and one would expect that talent to continue into this season. Let’s take a look:
First let’s confirm that in 2012-13 Jordan was a good mid-range shooter. He took 39% of his shots from there and hit 45.1% of them. It was the highest 2pt FG% on the team aside from Josh Smith’s 1-of-2 shooting and Sooren Derboghosian’s 1-of-1. Mid-range, indeed.
But here’s where things get really interesting.
We expected Adams to continue to hit his pull ups and floaters. Knock down jumpers in Alford’s pro-style sets. But look at the size of the red slice in 12-13 versus 13-14. He’s halved the number of two point jumpers he’s taking. A season ago he wow-ed us with 39% mid-range offense and now he’s taken that two-fifths of offense to the rack!!!!
We spent the entire off-season talking about how slashing guards like Carson and Dinwiddie would benefit from rule changes intended to “open the game up.” Well those two continue to do their thing. Not a ton has changed, the rules just supplemented their game.
But what we’re seeing with Jordan Adams is the game actually opening up. Perhaps a step slow last season, he now has the freedom to get past a defender and connect at the rim. His ORtg sky rockets and he gets easy buckets.
Further demonstrating Adams’ transformation and genius is that his FTA/FGA rate has improved by a gaudy 21.9 percentage points (41.5% –> 63.4%). Carson’s is actually down 13.3 points and Dinwiddie is just stupid. Last season he had the 19th best FT rate at 76.7% and he’s now 16th at 102.6%. Holy charity stripe.
What Pac-12 teams must concern themselves with, however, is that while Adams is taking fewer 2-point jumpers – which are traditionally considered a “good shot” for the defense – he’s currently connecting on 52.5% of them. From three he’s upped his FG% to 37% and I suppose it goes without saying but his FG% at the rim is high. How high? He shoots 67% at the rim which leads me to the question:
What can’t Jordan Adams do?
Note: This piece would not be possible without the glorious insights of hoop-math.com. Go there and have your mind blown.