Really thought I would have all this done by the end of last week. I was going to lump all the big men together, but given the panning of his first couple months (Insider subs.) nationally, followed by his game against the oh-so-overmatched Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (wildcats? Really? Well, it’s… generic.), along with another near double-double versus Delaware St., and the spirited defenses of him in by Coach Dixon. It just seemed that Steven Adams probably deserved his own spot.
At the very start of the season, Adams was facing the expectations. And after only one game, it prompted Joe Starkey to issue a warning.
We all agreed on these central facts:
• Adams is legitimately oblivious to the hype and harbors no desire to be “the man.” How that plays out — say, late in games when somebody has to be the man — will be interesting.
• His game is part raw and part refined. He‘ll block a layup, then step out to block a 3. He snaps a wicked outlet pass. He spots open men and gets the ball to them quickly, sometimes creatively.
On the other hand, he‘ll probably want to curtail those one-armed rebounds, judging from one coach‘s reaction, and his low-post game is undeveloped. Pitt didn‘t throw it to him inside until nearly eight minutes in.
• Man, can Adams run. He‘ll trail the break like a speeding freight train and finish with a flying alley-oop dunk. Which is precisely how he scored his first collegiate basket.
The rebounding with only one-arm is a common big man bad habit. Especially for freshmen big men who infrequently went up against players of similar size or physical strength. It was a very frustrating sight in several games. Adams was there for the rebound but either stabbed at it with only one hand — allowing a smaller defender to either go up and snatch it or knock it free — or let himself be bumped out of position because he wasn’t expecting anyone to be able to move him.
And it has only been in the past few games where he has started to shed that habit. Corralling and securing rebounds with both hands. Being more prepared and able to absorb contact. It’s a noticeable change in the stats. In the first 8 games, Adams had 35 rebounds. In the last 4 games: 39.