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Steven Adams Watch: larger role, more production

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Steven Adams isn't a rook anymore. He has now become the starting center on OKC and has improved many aspects of his game. What has the 21 year old Kiwi been doing well this season?

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Steven Adams had a promising rookie season.  He played some great defense, got punched in the face a few times, and helped suspend some players by provoking them (thus dubbed 'Kiwi tech's').  That is exactly what the Thunder needed him for.  He was responsible for taking one to the face from a hefty Zach Randolph in game 6 of the first round of the playoffs, which lead to Randolph's game 7 suspension and ultimately a Thunder series win.

As a sophomore, Adams is starting at center and is utilizing his physical gifts in many aspects other than provoking other players.

In 26 minutes, Adams has scored 7.7 points per game, 7.1 rebounds per game, and 1.2 blocks per game.

Adams was recruited and drafted mainly for his defense.  Yes, he is 7 feet tall and 255 pounds, but he possess a rare athleticism that is hard to find in 21 year old big men--or most big men, for that matter.  He can block shots easily, he dives for loose balls, plays solid help defense, and uses his big body to overpower opponents.

But we already know about his defensive tendencies.

Over the summer, Funaki shared that trainers have helped him work on his offensive game.  As a rookie, Adams seemed a bit uncomfortable with the ball and robotic while trying to make a move.  In this clip, Adams throws Andre Drummond a little shimmy and shoots a sky hook.

Being that Andre Drummond is a solid rim protector, Adams' move is even more impressive.  He is also dunking with more authority than ever and finishing through contact.

Once Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook went down with their respective injuries, Adams had to grow up offensively to fill in for that hole that was missing.  He did a relatively good job for his age and skill set.

But since there are some pros, there have to also be some cons.

Steven Adams is certainly developing an inside game, but he has yet to develop any type of jump shot.  So far, he has only shot 9 jumpers as far as 10 feet or more--many of which were desperation chucks as the shot clock expired.  He doesn't provide floor spacing and has no confidence in his shot, which may end up being a problem in the future. A big man like Adams doesn't need 3-point range, but he has to possess the ability to step back and hit an open 15 footer, similar to the way Brook Lopez and Robin Lopez have done for the Nets and Trail Blazers, respectively.

Another issue that has not been improved is his fouling problem.  Adams ranks 19th in the league in fouls with 58 on the season, that's around 3.2 fouls per game.  While his physicality will be needed, if he fouls out or accumulates a few early fouls, it can hurt his playing time and ultimately the team's performance as a whole.

Overall, Steven Adams is growing up fast.  At just 21 he is taking on a starting role on a potential Finals contender.  His new role will help him grow as a person and as a player.  If he can improve his offensive game this much over one summer, imagine what he will be like in a few years.

So for now, keep doing you Funaki.