Jaylen Adams is on his way to another crack at the National Basketball Association.
ESPN’ Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday that the Portland Trail Blazers plan to sign the former Bona Basketball standout as a replacement player for the NBA’s restart in Orlando, Florida. Adams will replace veteran point guard Trevor Ariza, who decided to sit out for the remainder of the season.
Neil Olshey, president of basketball operations for Trail Blazers made the news official on Wednesday when he announced that the team has signed Adams as a substitute player for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.Adams will wear No. 10 for the Trail Blazers.
The news for Adams comes just less than a year after being waived by the Atlanta Hawks, where he played in 34 games and scored 108 points while dishing out 108 assists.
Adams spent the entirety of this season with the Wisconsin Herd, the G-League affiliate of the Milwaukee Bucks.
St. Bonaventure basketball fans are well accustomed to Adams’ abilities as a player, of course. Trail Blazers fans, however, may not be. Here are three things Portland fans should know about Adams.
1) He can score, pass, handle the ball
Jaylen Adams is a good, solid basketball player.
At St. Bonaventure, Adams was a premiere scoring threat, especially in his junior and senior seasons. As a junior, Adams finished second in the Atlantic 10 Conference in scoring with 619 points, averaging 20.1 points per game. Adams missed the first six games of his senior season with an ankle injury. After returning, it was all systems go for Adams and the Bonnies. En route to a program-record 27 wins and an NCAA tournament appearance, which included a win against UCLA in the First Four in Dayton, Ohio, Adams scored 19.1 points per game (fourth in the conference) and had 40-point performances against both Duquesne and St. Louis. That season, Adams took home A-10 co-player of the year honors with Davidson’s Peyton Aldrige. In addition, Adams was a three-time First Team All A-10 selection.
Ultimately, Adams finished his career at Bona as the top-scoring guard in school history with 1,912 points (sixth overall among all SBU players). He also ranked second on the program’s all-time list for three-pointers (270) and third in assists (570).
In November 2019, he was voted the No. 3 overall player in program history. He finished behind Andrew Nicholson and the legendary Bob Lanier.
Most of Adams’ success as a scorer as a professional has come in the G-League. In 33 games with the Herd this season, Adams averaged 21.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.8 steals on 48.6% shooting. Adams scored more than 10 points in 31 of those games and had four 30-point performances. Adams was named the All G-League First Team and finished second in MVP voting.
2) He’s no stranger…
During his brief stint with the Atlanta Hawks, it’s true that Adams didn’t post the prolific numbers he did while at SBU. However, he still gained valuable experience that has shaped his evolution as a professional.
With Atlanta, Adams played with 8-time all-star Vince Carter, who just recently announced his retirement after playing an NBA-record 22 seasons. He also got to play with Trae Young, one of the NBA’s up-and-coming stars. Adams said he benefited greatly from watching the future Hall of Famer and a fellow rookie on a day-to-day basis.
“Vince — he's a 20-year veteran,” Adams told TAPinto Greater Olean in January. “I watched his approach and how he takes care of his body. Being a rookie with Trae, we kind of navigated the season with each other. I learned every day in practice and in games. I took important pieces from everyone’s lifestyle and game and added them into my own.”
In August 2019, Adams played for the Milwaukee Bucks in the preseason. Adams had a similar experience there watching 2018-19 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“Being around him every day, seeing how hard he works on a day-to-day basis,” Adams said. “Being around greatness makes you great.”
With the Trail Blazers, Adams will have another opportunity to learn from some of the league’s best. His teammates include superstars Carmelo Anthony, Damien Lillard and CJ McCollum.
Adams and McCollum are the only point guards on the roster. It’s not yet clear how much playing time Adams will get, but he presumably will play at least some minutes off the bench.
3) Big-time experiences in the past
Every game for Adams and the Trail Blazers will be meaningful in Orlando, and Adams has big-time, pressure-game experience.
St. Bonaventure, one of the smallest schools competing in Division I athletics, is required to have a special, unique season to reach the NCAA Tournament.
Adams spearheaded that task once in 2018, his senior season. Those games were big, but no matter the opponent, every other game had meaning, too.
Adams’ experiences at SBU, where the pressure to win every game was great, will prove to be beneficial for him in Orlando.
Adams has a shot, and sometimes, a shot is all a player needs.
In January, Adams told TAPinto Greater Olean that Atlanta’s decision slightly surprised him.
“Yeah, but no,” Adams said in regard to Atlanta’s decision to waive him. “You’ve got to perform. I thought that they were going to give me a little longer, but decisions are made, and things happen. I used it as a learning experience and motivation to get better over the summer.
Now, Adams has a shot again. This time, under a bright light. The eyes of the nation — and the NBA — will be on him.
“I need to keep being a leader,” Adams said. “Keep being unselfish and keep winning games. This team has put itself in a really good spot. As the team stuff comes, individual accolades will come later. I am not worried about the individual stuff. It will come.”
That mindset has helped him claw his way back to the NBA, and this may be his chance to stay there.
Portland’s Schedule and NBA Restart Rundown
The NBA’s season will resume on July 30 at Walt Disney World. A total of 22 teams will participate: eight teams in each conference (East and West) with the highest current winning percentages and the six teams that are currently within six games of the eighth-seed team in each conference. Each of those teams will play eight seeding games.
The seeding games will run through Aug. 14. Seven teams from each conference with the highest winning percentages at the conclusion of those games will compete in the playoffs, which will end no later than Oct. 13.
The Portland Trail Blazers are tied for ninth place in the NBA standings, 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies. Adams and the Trail Blazers will play their first game against Memphis on July 31 at 4 p.m. on NBA TV. On Aug. 2, the Blazers will face the Boston Celtics on ABC at 3:30 p.m. Following that, the team will play six more games on dates and times TBD.
Listen to Michael Hogan and Jeff Uveino's podcast about Jaylen Adams' return to the NBA.