Former Pitt center Steven Adams is in the NBA Playoffs with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder are facing the Dallas Mavericks in the first round and Adams is hoping to help them into the next round.
A win tonight against Dallas would move them closer to their goal and Oklahoma City has a 2-1 series advantage heading into tonight's contest.
Adams isn't a star on the team, but there's no doubt he's contributing. Since last season, he's been etched into the starting lineup and this year, had career-bests in points per game (8.0) and field goal percentage (61%) while pulling down 6.7 rebounds per night. He nearly helped the Thunder to a 3-0 series lead but his made shot in the team's one-point loss in Game 2 came just after the buzzer.
So far in the playoffs, Adams is averaging the same number of rebounds, but scoring a little less with stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook dominating the ball a little more often. And while Adams is the starter, he's being overshadowed by backup center Enes Kanter, who is averaging 14.3 points and nearly ten rebounds per game. Despite playing less this season, Kanter has actually produced more than Adams has all season.
As you might expect, there's been a healthy amount of discussion this year regarding Kanter starting over Adams. But through it all, Adams has continued to get the nod.
Adams' offensive opportunities will continue to be sparse in the postseason as long as Durant, Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka remain healthy. But where he can contribute is on the glass and defensively. If he does that, it could help the Thunder advance to the next round as Adams continues his quest for an NBA title.