Maybe I am being a little biased here, but I do get the feeling that people are narcoleptic when talking about Steven Adams. The most recent indication that people just aren’t getting how good Adams is would have to be those responsible for the NBA2k18 ratings. Now I won’t be going all Mia Khalifa and offering up my body in exchange for a higher rating — BUT — I will ask that you people open your eyes and start to understand just how good Funaki is.
If you don’t tune in to Oklahoma City Thunder basketball enough, perhaps you need to. Sure, his unassuming manner doesn’t capture the highlight reels like league MVP Russell Westbrook does, but Steven Adams is a game changer. He can score, rebound, play defence, is as tough as old boots, and keeps the Thunder focused. He is criminally underrated, and in just over 50 days’ time, I predict that he is going to put together a terrific NBA season that will see him mentioned in the Most Improved Player debates over all your favourite social media platforms.
We saw glimpses of what Adams was capable of in the 2016 NBA Playoffs. Not just the one-handed bullet pass to Andre Roberson (still one of my favourite passes of all time!) but the fact he scored well and efficiently, could switch out and guard the smaller guys on the three-point line AND he brought a physical and mental toughness that the Thunder team fed off. (We all remember the FREQUENT nut-kicking indiscretions by Draymond Green). This is what Steven Adams can bring and will bring with the new-look Thunder line-up for season 2017/18.
Last season, Adams posted a respectable stat line of 11.3 ppg and 7.7 rpg while shooting 57% from the floor in just a tick under 30 minutes per contest. Those numbers could have been gaudier, but the Thunder were Russell Westbrook’s team and the lack of talented pieces made life a little difficult for the Big Kiwi who had grown accustomed to having a little more space to operate.
Enter Paul George, Patrick Patterson and Raymond Felton.
OK, so Felton isn’t much of a floor spacer (32% from deep last year and over the course of his career), but George and Patterson most certainly are. Not to mention, these added talents give Westbrook different looks and angles, players who can ensure the defence can’t focus solely on him and it opens up the lane. We all know how good Steven Adams looked when they had a different floor spacer playing the wing, well Paul George is the next best thing. He can score from deep, has a lovely mid-range game and moves well without the ball. It means the Rated R & PG13 combo is going to be extremely dangerous and Adams is going to be one of the direct beneficiaries of that attention.
When Adams has space to operate (especially on the pick and roll being the “roll” man) he is highly effective. He has worked hard to improve his little “push floater” and baby hooks around the basket, and he has a soft touch when cutting the lane and getting to the rim – finishing with soft lay ups of thunderous dunks. It makes him and the Oklahoma City Thunder far more dangerous and diverse. With the new additions, as well as internal development from Alex Abrines, Doug McDermott and others, are going to ensure there are enough gaps for Westbrook to create and enough space for Adams to prosper.
The second area that will see huge development will be on the opposite end of the court. Adams is no slouch, but with an improved perimeter defence, Adams won’t be so heavily relied upon to switch and contain ball handlers. He will be able to stay down low, protect the rim and the paint, force missed shots and clean up on the glass. He will then be instrumental in kickstarting the fast break. Not having to expend as much energy on the defensive side of the ball chasing midgets around the horn not only sounds far more appealing to a seven footer, but it also means that he could be in line to add to that 30 minutes per game and have more energy to use in scoring the basketball. Yet another win-win.
NBA2k18 has released the following ratings for the centre position:
By the All Star break, Steven Adams will be rated 85+. @ me if it doesn’t happen!
Much was made about the big money extension signed by Steven Adams, but this is going to be the season which showcases just how incredibly good value that contract is. Big men take a few seasons to find their feet and Funaki is entering year 5. He’s just 23 years old and now gets to play with guys who compliment his skillset in George and 2Pat along with Russ, Abrines, Roberson and the rest of the crew.
Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Is Steven Adams properly rated in NBA2K18?
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