The Oklahoma City Thunder's preseason has finally come to an end, and the most surprising development has been the superb performance of rookie center Steven Adams. He has not only locked up the backup honors at center for the Thunder, but he has also spurred discussion among fans and followers over whether or not he should tabbed the starter this season over Kendrick Perkins.
Adams, the 12th overall pick by the Thunder in the NBA draft, has all of the physical characteristics and ability necessary to become a premier big man in the league. He's freakishly strong, surprisingly quick and coordinated (something most Thunder bigs lack). Best yet, he can score.
Sure, he's young, inexperienced and hasn't proven he can perform in regular-season play. But one thing to take into consideration is his superb performance throughout the Thunder's preseason.
Royce Young on DailyThunder.com was among the majority of reporters impressed by Adams' play, and he gave the first-year center an "A" grade for his preseason efforts.
What more did you want from him? He was terrific on the boards, terrific finishing in the paint, terrific setting screens, terrific catching passes and terrific being big. His defense left a little to be desire but hey, he’s a 20-year-old rookie that’s still super raw.
Looking at the numbers, you can clearly see that Adams was the best big during the Thunder's preseason play. Thunder Stats & Info revealed via Twitter an impressive stat line from Adams per 36 minutes.
Steven Adams per 36 this preseason: 12.1 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 62.1% FG.—Thunder Stats & Info (@ThunderStats) October 24, 2013
This guy is a rookie? Fooled me.
Adams averaged a double-double per 36 minutes and posted a field-goal percentage of 62.1 percent in the preseason. Perkins didn't have a single double-double all of last season, and the last time Perkins shot 62.1 percent from the field in a season was...well, never.
The Thunder has lacked low-post scoring for the past several years, which has hindered the offensive production the team needs to reach its goal of winning an NBA title.
Players like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka are obviously going to be the primary scorers for the Thunder, but adding a scoring threat in the low block would be a huge asset to an offense which got stagnant at times last season.
Can Perkins be the scoring threat the Thunder need? History tells us no. NBA analysts refer to him as a defensive weapon who doesn't fill up the stat sheet on the offensive end.
So if Perkins can't be the scorer the Thunder need, can Adams?
Well, the rookie big man certainly has the potential. As noted earlier, he hasn't had the opportunity to prove himself yet in regular-season play. But if I'm judging by what Adams showed in the preseason, then yes, he certainly can be a scoring threat.
Who should be the Thunder's starting center this season?
Despite his impressive performance in exhibition games, Adams will not likely be the starter at the beginning of the regular season. Thunder head coach Scott Brooks has shown in the past he doesn't give players big minutes until they have proven themselves.
With that said, there is a lot that could happen during the course of the season. Will Adams be the eventual starter at center this year? It's too early to tell.
But his development as the season goes on will certainly be intriguing to watch. Adams is a guy to certainly keep an eye on as the Thunder try to find players other than Durant and Westbrook to put points on the board.
Follow @JaredPorter_BR on Twitter for more Thunder analysis.