The good news is, that help may already be there. Nobody thought much of the Thunder’s 2013 draft. With their 12th overall selection, the Thunder chose center Steven Adams. Many thought that Adams should have stayed in college so he could have more time to work on his game before he went pro. He could have easily slipped out of the first round if the Thunder didn’t take a chance on him due to their need of a big man.
What seemed to be a gamble is looking like a bet that will pay off much sooner than expected.
Kendrick Perkins has missed most of the preseason with a finger injury. Adams has filled in as his replacement, and he has made the most of it. Thus far, he has shown very high energy and a knack for grabbing boards. Although it’s only the preseason, sometimes you can tell that a player just belongs. Adams’ energy and hustle is just what the Thunder need from their center position.
It was exactly what they wanted from Perkins, but it looks like they caught him on the downside of his career. Now, with most fans calling for Perkins’ exit, Adams looks like the perfect player to step in and step up.
Thunder head coach, Scott Brooks, has been especially pleased with Adams’ play so far this year. After one of Adams’ better preseason games where he posted nine points and 15 rebounds, Brooks said the performance was of “All-Star” quality. While it may not have been exactly that, Brooks has every reason to be confident in his young player’s ability. With time and hard work, we could surely see Adams blossom into an All-Star caliber player, especially with the lack of quality big men in the league.
There’s only one person that stands in Adams’ way at the moment, and that’s Perkins. I doubt that Perkins would accept a role coming off of the bench, and with his large contract, it’d just be better if the Thunder decided to part ways with the former NBA champion.
Even if Adams doesn’t pan out, they still need to get rid of Perkins. I would rather see Hasheem Thabeet get more minutes rather than watching Perkins wander around, looking lost and giving up free points on technical fouls.
What will benefit Adams the most is the quality of the players on the Thunder. Playing alongside guys like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka will be super-beneficial in Adams’ development. Adams should feel very comfortable in his role knowing he’ll never have to do too much.
All the Thunder will need from him is consistent energy on both ends of the floor, and judging from his play in the preseason, that’ll be exactly what they’re going to get from Adams.