Steven Adams reportedly grabbed 21 rebounds in 19 minutes of play during the Oklahoma City Thunder’s annual Blue vs. White scrimmage.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Last season, Adams averaged 9.5 rebounds per game, good for 19th in the league. His All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, however, capped off his third straight season averaging a triple double with 11.1 rebounds per game. He ranked 11th in the league.
Westbrook and Adams battling for a rebound. Photo from The Oklahoman.
The narrative for those three triple double years has been that Westbrook has been stealing rebounds from his teammates. How else could he be getting more boards than his 7 foot starting center? In fact, Adams averaged less defensive rebounds per game (4.6) than some guards such as Stephen Curry (4.7) and Victor Oladipo (5). He made up for this by ranking second in the league in offensive rebounding, snagging MORE of those than defensive boards! His 4.9 offensive rebounds per game ranked only second to Andre Drummond’s 5.4.
Adams has never averaged 10 rebounds per game in his 6 year NBA career, but this season we are likely to see that finally happen. With the departure of Russell Westbrook to Houston, there is nobody on the court that can get in the way of the Big Kiwi.
We cannot base this off of a very small sample in a preseason scrimmage. That would be foolish. To back up that foolishness, in the Thunder’s preseason game on Tuesday night against the Dallas Mavericks Adams only recorded 3 rebounds in 21 minutes of action. But Adams is due for a breakout season, and with Chris Paul now at the helm of the Thunder offense, this could be the year. CP3 only collected 4.6 rebounds a game last season, which means there are a lot more opportunities for Adams to crash the boards without Russ getting in his way. The Thunder roster is a lot less star-studded than it was just a season ago, which means Adams will have a lot of opportunity to shine in his new expanded role.
The Thunder will have their 2019-2020 season debut on October 23rd in Salt Lake City against the Utah Jazz.
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