2013 NBA Draft: Instant Analysis of 12th Pick C Steven Adams from Pittsburgh

Ben LorimerSenior Analyst IIJune 27, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 21:  Steven Adams #13 of the Pittsburgh Panthers reacts after losing 73-55 to the Wichita State Shockers during the second round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at EnergySolutions Arena on March 21, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Before starting, I need to admit that—as a proud New Zealander and a Oklahoma City Thunder fan—I nearly hit the roof when I heard they drafted Steven Adams.

However, I will do my best to remain impartial in this analysis.

Steven Adams is the ultimate blank-slate player. He has played only two seasons in the United States, and this inexperience shows in his overall development. However, I believe he has progressed a lot in the last two seasons, and it bodes well for his growth in the NBA, especially with a coaching staff as good as the one in Oklahoma City.

As with many raw big men, it comes down to physical gifts. Adams stands a legitimate 7'0" tall, and at 255 pounds (with more weight to come), he has the bulk to throw around in the low post. He is also a very coordinated athlete who can jump and run the floor with the best of them. 

Adams also has great length and huge hands; he's being a great rebounder and shot blocker as a result. While the fundamentals and intricacies of the game like getting position and boxing out sometimes elude him, he has the hustle and athleticism to make up for it—meaning he could become a truly elite interior presence once he masters the little things.

Adams is also a raw player on the offensive end, who can shoot a mid-range jumper but is poor from the free-throw line and lacks any effective post moves at this stage. However, he is already a great finisher in traffic and above the rim, and should at the very least be a Tyson Chandler-type player on offense who can slam home lobs and score on cuts to the basket and put-backs. 

Despite his raw game, Adams is already a very good defender. He switches well against the pick-and-roll (better than Kendrick Perkins) and challenges everything at the rim. In essence, he was the main reason why Pittsburgh had a great defense in his only season there.

In short, I love this pick. I reckon that Adams has the personality to improve quickly with a great team, and his potential to be a Chandler-type player—one who scores efficiently and plays elite defense—makes him a possible star down the road.

He will not contribute much this season, or maybe even the next, but the long term benefits he will bring to OKC will be worth it.


Grade: A-