Oklahoma City Thunder: Steven Adams' breakout postseason vital for his development

Over the Thunder’s final 14 playoff games, Adams played 310 minutes, 53 more than starter Kendrick Perkins and the fifth most on the team, behind only Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Reggie Jackson.
by Anthony Slater Published: June 14, 2014

His youth, energy and skill gave the Thunder a needed boost. After playing a key role in the Memphis survival, Adams proved vital in a physical battle against the Clippers and their high-flying bigs.

Starting in Game 2, he began a run of nine consecutive games with at least one blocked shot. He had nine rebounds in 18 minutes in a big Game 3 win. And in the closeout Game 6, Adams may have had his most important professional performance.

With Serge Ibaka sidelined because of a calf injury, Adams played a career-high 40 minutes and compiled 10 points, 11 rebounds and a game-high plus/minus of +17.

He was lauded by all after the game, including Reggie Jackson, known for his occasional hyperbole, calling Adams a “potential Hall of Famer.”

“I think we can all look back on this season and say it was very productive for Steven,” Presti said.

Adams’ postseason renaissance continued in the Spurs series, where he remained a bright spot. And even though, externally, this was viewed as a “championship or bust” season, plenty of good came from the Thunder surviving a Memphis scare and advancing deep into the conference finals, despite eventual elimination.

And the biggest of those positives, arguably, was another month of development for Adams.

“The opportunity to be able to play gave us more opportunity to learn (about Adams),” Presti said. “But that 10-game stretch shouldn’t really change our thinking too much.”

Hard not to factor it in, though.

by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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