Adrien looks like he has all the skills necessary to be a great hustle player in the NBA for years to come, but I don't think enough has been said about his leadership skills throughout his time with the Huskies. How did he make the team better with his leadership skills?
If you're looking for leadership, I'm not sure Adrien is going to be your guy, and not just because he is probably a career backup. He does not appear to be the world's most vocal leader, though he clearly is a hard worker who is from the leadership-by-example school. In 2006, UConn lost 5 players to the NBA draft and Adrien was the 2007 squad's most experienced player and defacto leader. It is hard to read much into his leadership from that time though because that team had no upperclassmen and its tough to put read too much into what Adrien did as a sophomore. For the record though, that 2007 squad was the worst UConn team in a decade (but again, hardly Adrien's fault).
Adrien's stats have stayed fairly consistent throughout his time at UConn. Is there a chance that there are still parts of his game that he can improve or is it basically what you see is what you get at this point in his career?
You know right away what you're going to get from Adrien, the only x-factor is how he'll do against taller NBA opponnents. He'll give you a good amount of rebounds, a few points and some solid minutes off the bench. That's it. I do not think his size will be that big of an impediment if only because he is so strong and physical.
Adrien is not a typical UConn big man and it comes back to his main drawback... size. Okafor, Boone and Armstrong are all much taller players who can add a shot-blocking ability that Adrien lacks. Villaneuva and Marshall both have an outside game that is far beyond anything Adrien can do.
Most mock drafts have Adrien slotted as a high 2nd round pick and his teammate Hasheem Thabeet as a high 1st round pick. If they ended up being picked by the same team, how would they benefit one another in the NBA?
Thabeet and Adrien are perfect compliments to each other in a lot of respects. Thabeet can use his height to neutralize anybody too tall for Adrien to effectively deal with. On the other hand, Adrien can use his strength to bang with big strong players that tend to give Thabeet trouble. However, if they wind up on the same team, that team better have the three best guards in the league, because otherwise they won't be scoring too much.
It basically comes down to this: Adrien is an extremly hard worker that won't dissapoint anybody with realistic expectations. He's too short to be anything but a productive bench player, but I have no doubt that is exactly what he'll be. He'll outmuscle some taller players for some rebounds and easy buckets while providing some solid minutes each game, but thats it. He'd probably be a good fit in Washington, especially if he is backing up Chris Cooley.
Many thanks to The UConn Blog for their insights on Jeff Adrien. If you're looking for more coverage of the school that brought you Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon, Rudy Gay and some guy with the last name of Butler, check it out.