Jordan Adams remembers a time when his childhood friend could barely make a layup.
That friend? Jazz center Derrick Favors, who was a part of the same Atlanta AAU program as Adams.
"To see what he’s become now is actually amazing," Adams says with a smile. "He’s come a long way."
Now the 19-year-old Adams wants to show NBA teams how far his game has come, too. And, as he worked out for the Jazz on Thursday, Adams said he wouldn’t mind a reunion with his friend Favors.
Adams, the UCLA shooting guard, joined Missouri’s Jabari Brown, Florida’s Patric Young, Massachusetts’ Chaz Williams, Princeton’s T.J. Bray and Wisconsin-Green Bay center Alec Brown in Salt Lake City on Thursday, as the Jazz continue their pre-draft scouting.
During his workout, Adams, who scored the most points for a Bruin in a season since Kevin Love, showed off his shooting prowess.
"He’s a really good shooter," said Jazz Vice President of Player Personnel Walt Perrin. "He knows how to play the game. He’s strong going to the basket. He can space the floor for you because he can really shoot."
At UCLA, Adams scored 1,131 points in two seasons, earning All-Pac-12 First Team honors as a sophomore. He shot 48 percent from the field and connected on 35 percent of his threes last year.
And despite being projected as a late first-round or early second-round pick (where the Jazz own picks No. 23 and 35), Adams opted to leave Westwood, Calif., after his sophomore year.
"I wanted to take upon the challenge of coming out here and playing against some of the best players in the world," he said.
Perrin and the Jazz see plenty of upside in the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Adams. But, despite being a second-team all-conference defender, whose 168 career steals are good for seventh-best in school history, Adams needs to improve his defense, Perrin said. The off-guard also needs to improve his ball-handling, something he said he rarely got to show in college.
"I didn’t have the ball that much in my hands. A lot of teams have been trying me in pick-and-roll sets to see how comfortable I am," he said. "I think I’m very comfortable. I didn’t get to showcase that at UCLA because we had two primary ball-handlers already."
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