January 5, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins guard Jordan Adams (3) and guard Bryce Alford (20) react during a stoppage in play against the Southern California Trojans during the second half at Pauley Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Re-re-examining 2014-15 UCLA Basketball WithOUT Jordan Adams

Ten days ago, the UCLA Bruin basketball team received some good news as leading scorer, Jordan Adams, was returning to Westwood for his junior season. Last week, Go Joe Bruin had written a piece previewing the team with Adams as the main figure of the squad entitled: Re-examining 2014-15 UCLA Basketball With Jordan Adams. Well, yesterday Adams announced that he has changed his mind, forgoing his third season and will enter the NBA Draft. So now we present an updated version to that piece…

 

Re-re-examining 2014-15 UCLA Basketball WithOUT Jordan Adams

Before we get into the how the team will be without Adams, let us go over the main points covered in the article regarding the rest of the team.

Players Leaving: David Wear and Travis Wear are graduating. Kyle Anderson and Zach LaVine have declared for the draft. Norman Powell has not declared, but has submitted paperwork to analyze his draft stock.

Recruits: UCLA has the #7 recruiting class coming in next season, including 5-star forward Kevon Looney, 7’0” 4-star center Thomas Welsh, 4-star forward Jonah Bolden and 3-star center Gyorgy Goloman.

The Point Guard Situation: Head Coach Steve Alford has stated that his son Bryce Alford and redshirt freshman Isaac Hamilton will be handling point guard duties. Despite the fan displeasure against it, let us give them the benefit of the doubt and say they will improve on their skills and be ready for next season.

The Returners: UCLA should benefit from an improved Tony Parker. The 6’9” 255 lbs. center showed marked improvement and should be a force for the Bruins. Noah Allen and Wanaah Bail did not play significant minutes and are a question mark for next season.

Possible Depth Chart, UPDATED: (*denotes potential starter)

PG: Isaac Hamilton*, Bryce Alford

SG: Norman Powell*, Noah Allen

SF: Kevon Looney*

PF: Jonah Bolden*, Wannah Bail

C: Tony Parker*, Thomas Welsh, Gyorgy Goloman

 

The Re-re-examination

This is not a horrible team, but it is not great. What it currently is, is a team without a leader. If Powell returns, they will have that senior leadership, but currently that is unknown.

The Bruins will also be without Adams’ 17.4 points per game. That will be very hard to fill. Adams was an exceptional scorer and was relied on heavily to get the Bruins points when no one else could. Looney should be a decent scorer coming in, but is he good enough to get those types of points?

Rebounding will be much improved from this past year, so that does not seem to be a problem. The problem is that they do not have a true PG, which means the execution of this team is in questionable. Plus, there are only four guards on the team, only two of which played meaningful minutes last year. Before Adams declared, it seems as if UCLA would be okay if they did not get another player to commit for next year. Now it might be a necessity.

We previously stated UCLA going forward, could be just as good, if not better than last season’s team. That is not going to happen. They will not drop into the lower half of the Pac-12, but they will not challenge for the Pac-12 crown either. Who knows, if one of the in-coming recruits “Carmelo-izes” the team and gives them a ton of success, fantastic! But right now that is not the case and at best, this team is poised for a third or fourth place finish in the Conference.

Mike W.R.

Twitter: @TheBigDisco

Tags: Basketball UCLA Bruins

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