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Can Steven Adams crack starting lineup for Oklahoma City Thunder?

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Ronald Martinez

Let the debate begin.

The NBA season is still months away, but the Steven Adams-Kendrick Perkins debate began as soon as the Thunder's year ended. Perkins is the veteran that was the team's starter for much of last season, but Adams is right there, desperate for more minutes.

So who gets the start? Do the Thunder stick with the status quo or is it time for Adams, the former Pitt center, to get his shot? Don't ask coach Scotty Brooks:

"That remains to be seen," Brooks said. "There’s a lot of work that needs to be done this summer. Obviously, (Perkins) has been a big part of what we’ve done over the years. We have a good group of guys that all have to come back better, and I expect that to happen with all of our guys … We have four months before the next season starts."

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you have an idea where I stand. Adams, to me, deserves his shot to start. Not necessarily because he's a great center yet, but because he's simply the best option on the team.

Adams' PER of 11.25 wasn't that great, but it nearly double the abysmal 6.32 registered by Perkins. Despite playing less, Adams scored more total points than Perkins did and rebounded favorably as well (Perkins had 4.9 rebounds per game to Adams' 4.1). Adams was more efficient from the field, was a better offensive rebounder, and was better defensively, tallying more blocks and steals than Perkins - again, all while playing less.

And for good measure, the former Pitt center was even a better free throw shooter.

Adams just outplayed Perkins last year and in addition, he's the younger option. The thought to let him work his way in last year made sense, but now that he's got a year under his belt and proved he can contribute (even in the postseason), it's time to turn things over to him.

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