When the Oklahoma City Thunder used their first round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft to select center Steven Adams out of Pittsburgh, I immediately and unabashedly called it a mistake and thought it was an awful move by OKC in a scramble to grab another big man. Though it’s still early in the season, Adams is well on his way to proving me wrong.
There was certainly some warrant to my doubts about Adams. After all, this is a 20-year-old big man who played limited minutes in his one season in college and wasn’t all that productive in that one season. Moreover, he’s a guy that really wasn’t heavily on the radar for the draft until his measurements and work at the pre-draft combine, which is always a red flag to me when looking at a prospect.
However, Adams has come out and been fantastic for the Thunder and put that on display on Thursday night against the Chicago Bulls in a victory. In 27 minutes against Chicago, Adams put up only four points on 1-4 shooting, but affected the game elsewhere as he grabbed seven boards, notched four steals and blocked two shots.
Adams’ biggest asset this season has been his energy and toughness. We’ve seen on numerous occasions this season that Adams isn’t afraid of any matchup and will take on any player in the league on either side of the floor. Though the production isn’t always there and his skills are still developing, that type of will and desire is valuable in a young player.
It’s pretty clear right now that the Thunder aren’t going to want to have Adams playing 35 minutes per night, but that shouldn’t devalue what he’s done this season. It’s only been around a quarter of a season into Adams’ career, but he’s already making me look like a fool for doubting him and the Thunder.