Steven Adams has increased the number of people calling for him to start for the Oklahoma City Thunder after a superb offensive outing this afternoon, putting up 17 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists, as well as three blocks.
How good was this performance? Well, after ignoring all the talk of +/-, I quickly compiled a list of cold, hard, undeniable facts from Adams’ performance, some of which have relevance in terms of evaluating just how good his outing was.
1. Steven Adams is just the second player this season to record a statline of 17 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three blocks. The other was Nikola Vucevic, who put up 22 points, 16 rebounds, three assists and three blocks in a loss to Minnesota.
Relevance: Minimal. I’ll be honest, I cherry picked that stat with some selective end points. But still, he did it! Seriously though, the assists put him apart from other impressive games from centres before, and shows how his passing could be an attribute down the line.
2. The last players to record at least 17 pts, 10 boards, three dimes and three blocks in a game in their rookie season? Anthony Davis and John Henson.
Relevance: Somewhat significant. Davis and Henson are athletic freaks, so for Adams to match them shows his potential athletically, something which isn’t possessed by any other Thunder centre.
3. Since 2008, only three players under the age of 21 have put up numbers like Adams has tonight – Tobias Harris, Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.
Relevance: Adams is young, so there’s plenty of time to grow and improve on other, more finessed parts of his game. Plus, again, that’s rather good company he’s in with.
4. Steven Adams has 17 points tonight in his fifth game with OKC. Kendrick Perkins has played 165 games with OKC and scored 17 once.
Relevance: Reasonable. Perkins is terrible at offence, and any centre in the league could out-score him – but that’s the beauty of Adams playing on Oklahoma City – he has no good offensive centres to contend with.
5. Adams became the first Thunder rookie to record a double-double since Serge Ibaka against Toronto on Feb. 28, 2010.
Relevance: This one is more the fact that Adams has managed to rack up a double-double, as the Thunder rookies have been terrible of late. As pointed out before, rookies don’t usually record double-doubles this early, another promising sign.
Finally, some stats to keep a track of during the regular season, to see if Adams can eclipse them
The record for most points in the NBA by a New Zealander is 18, put up by Sean Marks in 2009. Adams fell one short today – will he break it this season?
The record for most rebounds in a game by a New Zealander is 13 – by Marks in 2008. This milestone seems like it’ll be more attainable for Adams in the future.
The record for most points in a game is 100, by Wilt Chamberlain. Adams has a decent chance to break it.
Woah sorry, I got caught up in the hype there . Back to more attainable records.
Steven Adams has set the record for the most assists by a New Zealander in the NBA. His three blocks fell one short of the record, again held by Marks, another record which seems extremely breakable for the young Kiwi.
While Adams should eventually break all of Marks’ old records, can he make his mark on rookie or Thunder records? Time will tell, but it has been a superb start to a burgeoning career.