On Monday night, Oklahoma City Thunder rookie center Steven Adams played just six minutes against the Denver Nuggets. The only stats that he registered were one rebound, one block and a personal foul in his brief time spent on the floor. That’s far from an indicator of how surprisingly good he’s been thus far in his first NBA season.
I will freely cop to the fact that I thought Adams was going to a dud all the way up until he started playing well this season. In fact, I even though that the first few times that he saw the floor and performed admirably might have been a bit of fool’s gold. After seeing him consistently, though, I think I was simply wrong in how I assessed him.
The big man is already establishing himself as one of the toughest, peskiest players in the league. He doesn’t shy away from any contact (he actually seems to kind of like it) and is willing to fight for rebounds, loose balls, position and just about anything else that he can fight for. Moreover, he’s shown that he can be a relatively effective offensive player that makes rim runs and can finish as a compliment to guys like Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
This all circles around to Kendrick Perkins. It’s no secret if you’ve ever read anything I’ve ever said about Perkins that I think he’s completely invaluable to this Thunder team. He’s decent defensively, but I think his detractions offensively outweigh any value that he has in his defense. Throwing Adams into the mix only makes his value even more miniscule to me.
It’s early in his rookie season, but I’m making Adams my starting center if I’m Scott Brooks in the Thunder. Some of his game is still raw and he still has some nuances that he needs to pick up, but I also don’t think any of his weaknesses are as glaring or detrimental as Perkins’ are. It’s pretty risky, but I think the Thunder need to make this move soon if they want to stay playing top-shelf basketball.