Steven Adams is one of the most interesting players that made a career out of the NBA. He grew up with 17 siblings and wasn’t even introduced to the glorious sport of basketball until his teen years. That being noted, Adams is a monster and a daunting matchup to opposing NBA centers.
Not an immediate impact
Adams was acquired by the Oklahoma City Thunder through a very infamous trade and one that Thunder fans don’t like to talk about much. The Jeremy Lamb trade, oh and that guy James Harden was also apart of it (he’s apparently an NBA MVP or something like that now). OKC acquired a pick in the Harden trade that turned out to be the 12th pick of the 2013 NBA draft. That’s where Adams heard his name called. Adams wasn’t highly touted coming out of the University of Pittsburgh. He didn’t have very high expectations set for his career, and in his rookie season, he performed to those expectations.
In the 81 games Adams played in his rookie year, he only averaged 3.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. To the untrained eye, those look like “bust” numbers, but Sam Presti definitely has trained eyes. He knew what he was doing when he used a lottery pick on Adams.
Making a name for himself
It wasn’t until Adams’ fourth season where he finally hit double digits in scoring for a season. In the 2016-17 NBA season, the first season the Thunder went without Kevin “Burner Account” Durant, Adams made significant improvements. He averaged 11.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and one block per game. This sparked the beginning of the coal that is Adams turning to diamond.
The “Yikes” season
During the 2017-18 season, Presti attempted an experiment that many NBA fans are aware of, an OK3 attempt including Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George. While this experiment just flat-out didn’t work as many predicted, there was a light in a dark spot for OKC that year. Adams increased his season averages once again. Adams had career highs in most of his statistical averages. In 76 games played, he tallied 13.9 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game all while shooting 63 percent from the field. One might think, “A 3.3 points-per-game rookie must have peaked with those averages.” That person would be wrong.
All-Star season.. Kind of
While this NBA season is far from over, Adams is still managing to improve and is currently averaging career-highs in points, rebounds, steals, and assists. In 19 games, he’s averaging 15 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Those averages are arguably enough to take a roster spot on an All-Star team, in the Eastern Conference anyway.
His stats don’t tell the whole story of the great player he is though. His paint presence, on-ball screens and all-around toughness are what make Adams the great player he is. The stats that the casual NBA fans don’t acquaint themselves with are why Adams maintains his status as one of the most underrated players in the NBA. In a general manager-only NBA poll, Adams was voted the “Toughest NBA Player.” Of course with Adams being a humble player he didn’t care about the award saying, “It seems like a weird thing to poll. Guys are just bored I think.”
Adams is a class act and has recently been getting the recognition that he deserves. If he doesn’t make an All-Star team this year, and let’s be honest the likelihood of that happening is slim, he will be on one within the next few years.
Side note: Adams really looks like Aquaman and he likes anime.
Side-side note: Adams has super cool facial-hair.
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