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May 26, 2014 | by  | in Opinion Sports |
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Adams’s Role Set To Increase

Maybe the biggest and toughest basketball league in the world was exactly what Steven Adams needed.

The Oklahoma City Thunder is certainly getting its money’s worth with Adams. Which, compared to some of its superstar roster, is not actually that much.

Adams is quickly proving to be one of the finds of last year’s NBA Draft, averaging over three points and four rebounds per game, and his Kiwi charm is making him a very likeable figure throughout the NBA. Not with everyone, though.

Adams has already seen himself involved in altercations, which have resulted in star players such as Vince Carter, Zach Randolph and Nate Robinson being either ejected from the game or suspended. Maybe this is what helped the Thunder advance in Game Seven of the first round of the playoffs.

Now his Oklahoma City Thunder team find themselves in the Western Conference Finals, and Adams is going to have an even bigger role to play than before. The Thunder have lost star centre-forward Serge Ibaka to a calf injury which has put a serious dent in the Thunder’s hopes of advancing to the NBA Finals.

And here’s the change: Adams has already been immense this post-season for the Thunder, playing a massive role in their Conference Semis win over the LA Clippers (damn you, Stevie). But this injury to Ibaka will see a massive increase in playing time for Adams. Nick Collison will most likely get the start; however, Adams will be playing big minutes off the bench to add to his 40 in Game Six against the Clippers. If OKC go small, then Adams’ defence will be critical against Tiago Splitter, or even the great Tim Duncan in the post. Adams’ shot-blocking ability will also be critical here, as Ibaka is the current league leader in blocked shots, something OKC will greatly miss against the Spurs.

I don’t think anyone probably imagined Adams would have this great a role to play in his opening season in the NBA. But no one doubted how ready he is for the big stage.

He’s been huge so far for OKC in the post-season, and expect that intensity to go up another level as they look to advance past the Spurs to head to their second NBA Finals in three years.

I’m picking this series to go to seven, with OKC picking up the crucial away win to take the series.

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