PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – With Steven Adams declaring for the NBA Draft after only one season at Pitt, there was much speculation about whether or not he was making a mistake and leaving too soon.

Sports Illustrated’s NBA Draft expert Chris Mannix though saw a side of Adams at the NBA Draft Combine that suggests has stock has really risen.

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“They watched him run the floor, they looked at his hands, they looked at his size and his muscle and his athleticism and they saw a player.   He performed very well at the combine and several executives told me they like what they see out of him,” Mannix said. “His potential, and his size and his skill set, there’s going to be a team at the back end of the first round that says all right I can sit this guy on the bench, I can send him to the D-League for a couple of years and I can wait and see if he can develop.  I’m convinced that’s going to happen.”

Mannix acknowledges that Adams didn’t show a lot at Pittsburgh to suggest he’d be a first-round pick in the draft, but takes a shot at how many seasons before Adams consistently contributes at the NBA level.

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“I would say a minimum of two at this point.  I think you have to consider his first year almost a red-shirt year and you can send him to the D-league in his second year as well.  I think at least two years have to go by before you can actually consider him maybe a rotation player.”

Luckily for Adams, Mannix also points out that there aren’t a lot of seven-footers that can score, and Adams showed a little bit of range to his game at the combine that will intrigue teams.

Things wrapped up with Mannix telling us whether or not Adams would have been better off staying at Pitt or declaring for the draft and spending time in the D-League.

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