March Madness has been, well, madness. No one predicted Dayton or Stanford to reach the Sweet 16, or even Tennessee. Remarkably, as Steven Adams has played well, his alma mater Pitt crushed Colorado.
This week, Steven Adams' minutes increased and his rebounding production was the most impressive improvement. While Adams continued to show growth in defending the pick and roll, playing in open space where he has to communicate is still an area for improvement. His offense is still missing anything resembling a go-to move, but like most rookies, he is just premature. Over the weeks of his starting role, we have seen him Adams decrease his personal fouls, especially this week.
I was happy to see Adams' minutes go up significantly this game. Against one of the best centers in the NBA, Joakim Noah, Adams helped to contain Noah to just 9 points. Just another game where Adams helped hold down an elite big man. Offensively, Adams did not contribute much, but when you play the Bulls, defense is the key to everything. With two blocks and 6 rebounds, Adams was able to protect the rim and help contribute to a much needed Thunder win against a tenacious opponent.
Thunder vs. Cavaliers March 20th
In this game against Cleveland, Adams scored 4 points off of 2-3 shooting. Defensively, we saw a consistent burden on opposing offenses. In just 18 minutes, Adams recorded 6 rebounds and 1 block and remained a threat in the paint. But, outside the paint, he guarded the pick and roll very well. Adams helped to contribute in an intense and much deserved win for OKC.
Thunder vs. Raptors March 21st
The highlights of this game in Canada was rebounding. Adams rebounded 7 times in just 18 minutes. If he played a significant amount of minutes, he could have neared 15 rebounds. On top of the rebounding, Adams recorded 2 assists and a block and the defense was there as usual. Unfortunately Brooks did not trust him down the stretch, which was unfortunate because the Raptors big men were dominant against Serge Ibaka.
Expectations: Adams rebounding took the next step. He consistently hit the boards despite only playing a bit. For the week coming up, I expect to see Adams score a bit more. Though he is 95 percent a defensive player, it would be helpful to have a center who can just put up a few points.