Under appreciated. That's the verdict on basketballer Steven Adams by Sports Illustrated, which predicts that the Oklahoma City Thunder's Kiwi will be among the top NBA performers next season.
In their crystal ball list - The Top 100 NBA players of 2018 - Adams gets a predictive ranking of 47. In analysing Adams, SI says Adams has suffered through unreasonably high expectations after he made such a splash in 2016 and praises his selfless game.
SI's Rob Mahoney writes.-
"Expectations were so high for Adams coming out of the 2016 playoffs that what turned out to be a career year (11.3 points per game, 7.7 rebounds per game, 1.0 blocks per game) the following season was still regarded by some as a disappointment. Consider, instead, the reality. Adams raised the ceiling on what was a strange exercise in Oklahoma City last season. While Russell Westbrook drew attention from opponents and observers alike, it was Adams who was helping anchor the defense that actually got the Thunder into the playoffs. While the Thunder posted one of the lowest Effective Field Goal Percentages in the league, Adams was battling to secure extra, compensatory possessions. Only six players in the league grabbed a higher percentage of available offensive rebounds.
"There will always be a cap on the box score contributions of players like Adams, in part because their games are tailored to complement. What he doesn't do is the point; Adams knows what he does well and dedicates his game to aiding those who wind up filling the box score. It's because of him and players like him that the high-scoring guard has become the standard bearer of modern basketball. When your center defends well, screens hard, aids in team rebounding, and finishes the opportunities presented him, the rest of the lineup can be maximised accordingly."