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Instigator/Center/Agitator Steven Adams making mark in playoffs, NBA

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Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Recently, I wrote about the impact former Pitt center Steven Adams was having on the NBA - particularly in the NBA playoffs. Adams was playing well and also got Zach Randolph to go Zach Randolph and get ejected for a crucial Game 7 after throwing a punch. Adams' Thunder team went on to win and the loss of Randolph was really a big one for Memphis.

Seems that he is developing quite the reputation around the league. The reputation is growing so much, in fact, that he's even getting mainstream coverage. Grantland recently wondered aloud who would punch the center next.

Previously, I mentioned his part in getting several guys fined, suspended, and/or tossed from games this season. For whatever the reason, Adams' is getting under the skin of several players.

Part of the reason? Perhaps because he's got rugby in his blood:

"I just played it by ear," said Adams, 20. "I played basketball seriously at 13, but I didn’t know where it would take me. I thought I’d be a rugby player. It turns out I’m not. "

Some that think Adams might be too rough may argue that last point, by the way. Adams' Thunder are currently playing the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round of the playoffs. Count former player and Clippers coach Doc Rivers among those that are noticing Adams' style of play:

"Red Auerbach always told me you need to get agitators," Doc Rivers said. "He’s one of those for sure."

For his part, Adams says he has no idea why he's annoying the crap out of so many people:

An interview session with Adams was filled with quips, questions of his own and non sequiturs.

He said, wryly, that he could not understand why he had irritated so many opponents.

"They just seem to not like me," he said. "I don’t know why. I just play hard. I don’t do anything else."

Personally, I hope Adams doesn't get only this rap. It's fine to instill a little fear in opponents, but Adams is really too skilled to be known as just a player that is out there to get under the skin of others. He's got a long way to go, obviously, but his ceiling is more than simply that, to be honest.

For now, though, give him credit. He's providing real value to his team in that role and it could help Oklahoma City fight their way to the Finals.

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