The picture above is only a small sample size of the kind of presence Oklahoma City Thunder rookie center Steven Adams has had on the floor in his first few games. Granted, blocking Carlos Boozer is something even Earl Boykins could do at this point, but let’s move past this beautiful photo.
Adams, a first round pick out of Pittsburgh, was a guy that the Thunder drafted due to a need down low — a big need. Next to Serge Ibaka, the Thunder haven’t had another big man to pair in the paint that is of any positive note. Kendrick Perkins has been downright awful — for those of you who have read my columns before, you know exactly how I feel about that joker — since joining the team.
Unfortunately, the Thunder did not use the amnesty clause on him this offseason and are going to wait it out.
Thus far, Adams has averaged 17.5 minutes per game opposed to 18.5 for Perkins. It’s not a huge difference in minutes, but a gigantic difference in performance. Adams has been the definition of efficient on the floor. In his 17.5 minutes per game, he’s averaged an impressive 6.0 rebounds.
That’s good for second on the team; second only to Ibaka’s 10.5 in over 32 minutes of action per night. You could even argue that Adams is the best rebounder the Thunder have. Other than rebounding, Adams has been a strong defensive presence and has also made 50 percent of his field goal attempts.
With all that said, Adams’ PER (player efficiency rating) is a whopping 17.4 in his first season with the team. That’s good for third on the team behind Kevin Durant and Jeremy Lamb — truly remarkable for a guy that many weren’t as high on over the summer and even right after the draft. This past draft was a weaker class, so the fact that Adams is playing so well is a huge win for Oklahoma City.
Oh, and Perkins’ PER is sitting at 7.8.
The Thunder have a huge chunk of change owed to Perkins this season, but that shouldn’t stop them from replacing him with Adams very soon. He’s played much better than the veteran and deserves more playing time nonetheless.