I've been trying to check in on former Pitt center Steven Adams, now with the Oklahoma City Thunder. It's been a while, but I had some time to do that recently.
Adams is still producing, but the most glaring thing is that the rookie is playing less. Adams averaged about 18 minutes per game in November but in December and January has only gotten about 14 minutes each night. Despite the cut, his scoring is still about the same and his rebounding has even gone up. On the season, Adams is averaging 4.6 rebounds per game, but in January, he's pulling down 4.9 each contest.
There could be a million reasons for the changes in minutes, but you can boil it down to a couple of things. Kendrick Perkins, who was only playing about 17 minutes in November, is getting those extra minutes and now playing 21 per night. Adams has also been plagued a bit by foul trouble. While Perkins has yet to foul out even once this season, Adams has fouled out three times this month. Adams' foul outs came in three straight games and in two of the games, he played only ten and eleven minutes, respectively.
It's not as if Perkins is without foul issues himself and he has nearly fouled out in several games. But Adams also is fouling out at the same rate (2.9 per game) than Perkins is. I haven't seen him play much this year, but as I mentioned over the summer, part of my concern was how he would adjust to that part of the game, facing much quicker and more skilled guys in the NBA than he'd seen in college. I just wonder if that's been part of it or if he's thrown into situations where he's asked to foul.
Adams is still having a decent rookie year, but not playing as much is probably going to slow his development at least a bit.