On Sunday afternoon, the Atlanta Hawks announced via their Twitter account that they officially signed former St. Bonaventure point guard Jaylen Adams to a two-way contract. This move makes Adams the only two-way prospect that Hawks currently have on their roster, as they decided to not tender a qualifying offer to Josh Magette and Andrew White, which made them unrestricted free agents.
From the moment that you look at Adams’ college production, it quickly becomes clear why the Hawks decided to give him that two-way contract. As a member of St. Bonaventure, Adams excelled as one of the mid-major’s best offensive forces as put up 19.1 points, 5.2 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals on 44% from the field and 44% from beyond the arc on 6.1 perimeter attempts per game. By putting up those great numbers while maintaining a 61% True Shooting Percentage, the Atlantic 10 had no choice but to name Adams as their Player of the Year for the 2017-18 season.
As evident from those great numbers, perimeter shooting was the biggest key behind his offensive attack as those 6.1 perimeter shots represented 49% of his 12.5 field goal attempts per game. While that production is appealing, actually watching him work on the perimeter is more entertaining.
Unlike most mid-major guards, he exudes this swagger that makes you believe he can nail a jumper no matter where he is on that court. The belief is warranted as he was able to shoot 44% from 3 despite most of his shots coming from Steph Curry range after he’s done working off-the-dribble. Of course, his sweet shot is also evident when he’s working catch-and-shoot as the time between capture and release is extremely quick.
Alongside perimeter shooting, another great skill that Adams exhibits is as a distributor. During his four-year college career, the 6’2 guard averaged 5.4 assists with a pretty solid 1.9 Ast/TO ratio. Although both his assists (5.2 per game) and Ast/TO ratio (1.7) dipped a bit during his senior season, the 6’2 guard’s production was still good enough to have him be the third best facilitator in the Atlantic 10.
Being able to facilitate in both drive-and-dish and on the perimeter are the two reasons behind those solid numbers. While working behind the 3-point line, Adams does a nice job of instantly recognizing open teammates, especially when they’re a cutter or roll man working their way to the rim. Once that recognition happens, he can immediately fire off an accurate pass.
He can use the combination of vision and precision while working in the drive-and-dish as Adams is a joy to watch with the passes that he throws while moving his way towards the paint. A prime example of this is seen below as Adams throws a beautiful over-the-head pass to the driving big that he worked with in a pick-and-rolls.
The last part of Adams’ offensive arsenal worth talking about would be his work as an on-ball driver. Although nearly half of his offense comes as a perimeter shooter, he has a lot of potential in this area as his quick acceleration and slick handles allowed him to drive past most Atlantic 10 guards that were defending him.
However, the optimism ends there as he shot a lackluster 48% from around the rim, according to Hoop-Math. That lackluster average definitely had something to do with the 6’2, 190 pound guard’s small frame which made it hard to finish in traffic. However, some of those worries are lessened by how he can regularly get to the charity stripe. As a senior, he averaged an Atlantic 10-best 6.5 free throw attempts per game where he shot 85%.
Despite how impressive he might’ve been with St. Bonaventure, Adams will probably spend most if not all of his rookie year in the G League with the Erie BayHawks. As we currently stand, Adams sits third in the point guard depth chart as Dennis Schroder and Trae Young are positioned behind him. Of course, that situation can change if the Hawks decide to sign a veteran point guard or trade Schroder. But while Hawks fans might have to wait awhile to see Adams play at the NBA level, G League supporters will be in for a treat.
Whether you enjoy basketball more for analytics or just watching some fun players ball out, Adams is a ideal prospect for you. From a statistical perspective, it’ll be interesting to see if he can transport his amazing three-point percentage over to the NBA level.
In addition to that, both fans and the Hawks front-office will keep a close eye on if he can be better from around the rim. For fans that just want to sit back and watch entertaining prospects, Adams might be one of the best players. That’s due to how Adams stands as this showman that likes to entertain masses with his unlimited range and great passing prowess
While Jaylen Adams might’ve left last month’s NBA Draft as an overlooked prospect, it will hard for G League fans to keep eyes off of him when he makes his way to the Erie BayHawks for the 2018-19 season.