Steven Adams was taken earlier tonight in the NBA Draft, 12th overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder. That officially gives head coach Jamie Dixon his first lottery pick. Now that we know where Adams is going, let's take a look at his new team.
By all indications, the Thunder should be a good fit for Adams. Now, is he a good fit for them? Well, I'll get to that in a bit.
First, the team is explosive on offense and plays an up-tempo style of game. That should suit Adams who is an ideal fit in that type of system. He doesn't yet have the post-up moves to take on NBA defenders in a half-court set. Sure he's going to have to do that since you can't run all the time, but in a system like Oklahoma City's, Adams can get out and score some easy baskets in transition.
The Thunder are also a team in need of a center, but at the same time, Adams won't be needed right away with Kendrick Perkins there. Perkins isn't great (or even very good ... okay, he's pretty bad), but he'll certainly start over Adams for a while. Using an amnesty on Perkins apparently isn't an option, either, so he'll be there ahead of Adams. OKC also has Pitt punching bag Hasheem Thabeet (no, seriously, he's still in the league) and young center Daniel Orton out of Kentucky. If Adams turns out to be the player he's supposed to be, those are guys he can surpass.
Another great reason to like the landing spot is because Adams is going to a place where he doesn't need to star. With Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Martin, and company, Adams really won't have a ton of pressure on him, even when he's ready to contribute. There's plenty of offense on that team and they won't need a ton of offensive production if the team has a similar makeup in a couple of years.
Lastly, the spotlight in Oklahoma City won't be insane for Adams to deal with. If he had gone to a bigger market like New York or Philly, the media pressure coupled with fans' expectations may have been too great. But a place like OKC is a good place to get his feet wet. Not that there won't be expectations, but it won't be as bad as some major market areas.
And, oh yeah, Adams is going to a contender - so there's that.
While I think it's a great place for Adams to land, I am a bit surprised the Thunder went in that direction, though. They're in need of a center, so it makes sense from a roster standpoint. But being so close to potentially winning a title, I expected them to go out and select a more NBA-ready player.
With the trade of James Harden this year and the injury to Russell Westbrook, the Thunder could have used another player in the playoffs. Sure, Westbrook will be back next year, but does a team so close to a championship need a project (on top of the two they have in Thabeet and Orton)?
But looking at it from Adams' standpoint, he should be pretty pleased with where he ended up. The Thunder will be a great place for him to start his career.