At the time, it shouldn’t have really been talked about. Adrien was essentially being brought up to the squad to play garbage-time minutes and ride the pine-pony.
However, when Michael Kidd-Gilchrist injured his eye against the New Orleans Hornets on Dec. 29, Adrien’s role grew immensely. With rookie Jeffery Taylor starting at small forward, Adrien would have to play big minutes off the bench on New Year’s Eve against the Chicago Bulls.
In the Bobcats win over the Bulls that snapped their 18-game losing-streak, Adrien performed at an extremely high-level. In 23 minutes, he shot 3-5 from the field, scored nine points, grabbed 10 rebounds, blocked three shots and recorded a +8 in his time on the floor.
Adrien isn’t going to be a superstar by any means. Even in college where he averaged 33-plus minutes per game for the University of Connecticut he never averaged more than 15 points per contest.
One thing Adrien can do is provide some consistency off the bench for Charlotte. Taylor is a very hit-or-miss type of player that is either playing solidly or stinking up the joint, with no in-between.
If Adrien is able to come off the bench in limited minutes once Kidd-Gilchrist returns, it could help to stabilize the Bobcats’ bench-unit.
And there’s no reason to believe that he can’t do that.
He’s played in only five games this season for the Bobcats. In those games, he’s averaging only 9.2 minutes per game, a number that is admittedly skewed by his 23 minutes against the Bulls. But in those games, he’s shooting 60 percent from the field and averaging 3.4 boards, one block and 3.6 points per game.
That means that his per 40-minute numbers are 15.7 points, 14.8 rebounds and 4.3 blocks per game. That’s quality production from your three-man. That’s also why Adrien is posting a 16.9 Player Efficiency Rating in his limited minutes this year, good enough for the fifth best on the Bobcats.
Adrien will need to continue his solid production in the minutes that he gets in MKG’s absence if he wants to become a bigger part of Charlotte. If he does though, expect to see more of him on the floor.