Jeff Adrien: The Former UConn Huskie Grabs the Golden State Warriors' 15th Spot
After a close preseason battle with former Warrior Aaron Miles, Jeff Adrien signed a non-guaranteed contract with the team to capture the last available spot on the roster.
Adrien, who spent last season in Spain with Leche Rio Breogan, impressed with his ability to attack the glass.The 6'7", 243 pounder accepted the Warriors' invite to training camp because he thought they presented his best chance to earn a spot on the roster. And eight games later, Adrien did just that.
Despite paying just 9.8 minutes a night, he still tied David Lee—30.9 minutes—and Andris Biedrins—23.1 minutes—with 2.5 offensive rebounds. He wasted little time in taking advantage of his opportunity, with a 15 rebound effort in the team's second preseason game against the Kings.
Adrien also benefited not only from his stellar play, but other factors seemed to fall in the big man's favor.
For one, his main competition Aaron Miles was less than impressive in his brief tryout. Miles averaged just 3.5 points and 2.2 assists, despite seeing 14 minutes a night.
Going in to the preseason, Miles appeared to have an advantage for the roster spot given the team's lack of depth at the point guard position. But his lackluster play did little to inspire confidence in his ability to serve as Stephen Curry's backup.
Injuries to Warriors' big men also helped Adrien earn his roster spot. After losing their first round draft pick, Ekpe Udoh, for six months with a wrist injury, the team also lost former Phoenix Sun Louis Amundson for four-to-six weeks after he needed surgery on his right index finger.
Adrien's grittiness in the post could provide the Warriors with the hustle off of the bench that they thought they would have in Amundson and Udoh. And with the club reluctant to rush oft-injured Brandan Wright into serious minutes, Adrien could beat out the spot-up shooter Vladimir Radmanovic and the veteran Dan Gadzuric for big minutes to start the season.
It's great to have natural ability, but sometimes it's better to simply be lucky. For Jeff Adrien, a little of both earned him a spot on an NBA team known for finding unheralded gems year after year.
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