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Oklahoma City Thunder

Big Kiwi Emerges as Anchor for OKC

Steven Adams has become a fan favorite in Oklahoma City, and it isn’t hard to see why either. What’s not to like about “The Big Kiwi”? If he doesn’t catch your attention with his hilarious comments in his interviews, then his willingness to sacrifice his body, and his toughness inside the paint surely will. The New Zealand kid drafted three years ago is now a beast of a man, and he is well on his way to stardom.

Adams was without a doubt the most improved player on the Thunder roster this past year. He played exceptionally well all season long, even though he was dealing with injury for a majority of the time. The big man put up a career high 8 points per game, and added 6.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks to go with it. There is no way to deny his efficiency on the court. The most impressive stat from this season is his player efficiency rating, which was 15.5. The Kiwi has come a long way from his 11.2 rating as a rookie.

We can’t forget about the defensive improvement for Adams either. While he may not be completely there yet, his improvement was evident in the playoffs. He showed glimpses of the type of player we used to see in Serge Ibaka. No, he can’t keep up as well with the quicker guys, and he can’t defend the rim as well, but he’s only 22. This is one reason the Thunder was able to make the Oladipo move. Sam Presti had this to say about the Ibaka trade, “The reason why I think we’re in the position to make that choice is because we’ve got another one in Steven Adams”(NewsOK.com). He went on to say, “His emergence as I think an impact defensive player is allowing us to look to continue to add to the team and make it deeper, more robust, more skilled. And that’s why we’ve always talked about the ability to compete year-in and year-out and maintain a performance level, because we’ve been able to organically grow and use those opportunities when people outgrow roles to sustain the performance of the team and be in a position to stay with the second best winning percentage in the NBA over the last six years.”

The best stretch of the season for Adams came during the Thunder’s playoff run. He played at a much needed higher rate during the post season. He nearly averaged a double-double with 10.1 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Adams shot an impressive 61% from the floor during the playoffs, and 63% from the free throw line. His free throw average doesn’t sound great, but it’s an improvement from his regular season average of 58%. He did it all this post season; angry dunks in the paint, aggressive rebounds, and one-handed baseball throw assists. It isn’t hard to see why he is becoming a fan favorite.

Lets take a look at the top 3 plays of Adams career:

3. One Handed Free Throw

After injuring his shooting hand during a game against the Clippers in the 2014-2015 season, Adams knocked down a one handed free throw with his left hand. After sinking the shot he headed straight to the locker room for medical attention.

2. Fastball Assist 

During the Western Conference Finals against Golden State, Adams threw a one-handed fastball assist to Andre Roberson. What’s not the love here?

1. Draymond Green Gets Posterized 

After taking a kick to the groin from Green during game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, Adams came back the next game with sweet revenge.

Honorable Mention: Adams Posterizes LeBron

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