Oklahoma City Thunder: What's Steven Adams' ceiling in the NBA?

The Oklahoman’s staff writers discuss three topics surrounding Steven Adams:
by Berry Tramel and Darnell Mayberry and Anthony Slater Published: June 14, 2014
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photo - Oklahoma City's Steven Adams (12) goes for the ball between Portland's Thomas Robinson (41) and Joel Freeland (19) during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Portland Trail Blazers at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. Oklahoma City won 105-97. PHOTO BY BRYAN TERRY, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Steven Adams (12) goes for the ball between Portland's Thomas Robinson (41) and Joel Freeland (19) during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Portland Trail Blazers at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. Oklahoma City won 105-97. PHOTO BY BRYAN TERRY, The Oklahoman

Tramel: He doesn’t have one. That’s the fabulous thing about Adams. His potential is vast. Right now, he’s a decent defender and good rebounder. His offensive game consists of putbacks and dunks off pick’n rolls, but he’s good at those. But Adams is not yet 21. His offense still could develop. Big men are notoriously slow developers, so Adams’ quick ascension could indicate he’s got an accelerated learning curve. No one really knows how good Adams can be, and he’s not bad now.

3. Should Adams be a starter on opening night? Will he be?

Mayberry: Yes, he should be. I have no idea if he will be. It’s the thing I’m looking forward to most on opening night. I underestimated Adams’ role once. And I’m tempted to do it again for the same reason: Scott Brooks. I just don’t believe Brooks will pull a veteran, championship-winning player from the starting unit for a second-year player, even though the whole world can see that’s what needs to happen. If it does, I’ll be stunned.

Slater: Yes and yes. There’s no reason not to start and play Adams 30-plus minutes a night, barring foul trouble. His vast potential gives the Thunder another level to grow. He’s the future at center. Nobody’s doubting that. So why not pepper him with as much experience as possible now. Seems like a simple decision, really.

Tramel: I will guess yes, Adams will be the starter. And he should be, provided his defensive commitment is strong. Kendrick Perkins has set a high standard for plugging the middle. No way Adams will match Perk’s defensive prowess immediately, but his better offense made up for it much of the postseason. Next season, it should more than make up for it.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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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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