Opinion: Steven Adams' NBA game is just as unique as his quirky personality

Steven Adams is the leading offensive rebounder in the NBA this season.
Steven Adams is the leading offensive rebounder in the NBA this season. Photo credit: Getty

OPINION: We all know that Steven Adams is a very unique man - the hair, the beard, the mannerisms, the list goes on.

But it's his style-of-play, which doesn't exist anywhere else in the league, that is truly unique. It's full of cheeky intelligence that leaves opponents shaking in their brightly colored boots.

When watching Steven Adams take the court, night in and night out, it's clear his teammates find great comfort in being on the floor with him.

Adams is a natural leader and has spent his five seasons in the sport's most demanding league so far, critically studying the game.

He's studied where he belongs, where he doesn't belong, what parts of the game suit his abilities and what doesn't.

Adams has thrown together all of his findings, his abilities and the lessons he's learned over the past four years into one big blender, mixed it up and poured his recipe of success into the tallest glass in town, and he's deservedly drinking it in.

"Physically, he's capable of that wear and tear," says All-Star Oklahoma City team-mate Paul George. "He's just strong... it's hard to get positioning on Steve-O."He's different. That guy's different."

And that "different" style of play has made him one of the most feared players in the league.

Just past the halfway mark of this season, Adams is averaging career highs in;

  • Shots attempted per game- 9.3
  • Shots made- 6
  • Field goal percentage- 64%
  • Rebounds- 9.1 (5.3 offensive and 3.8 defensively)
  • Minutes per game- 32.2
  • And Points per game- 13.8

Of all these statistics, the area where Adams has enhanced his game the most is 'offensive rebounding'.

Adams wrestles with the outstanding Timberwolves centre Karl Anthony Towns.
Adams wrestles with the outstanding Timberwolves centre Karl Anthony Towns. Photo credit: Getty
Adams is setting career highs in offence this NBA season.
Adams is setting career highs in offence this NBA season. Photo credit: Getty

You know, when one of Adams' high-calibre Thunder teammates takes a shot, and the colossal Kiwi so kindly grabs the rebound and lets them shoot again?

Adams leads the league in this statistic.

It's a part of the game that Adams has an insatiable appetite for, and other big men in the league simply have not put as much time and effort into this very specific skill set as the Oklahoma City star.

In fact, his critical work on offensive rebounding dates back to his teenage years in New Zealand, back here at home.

"I just got addicted to getting better," Adams said in a recent interview.

"My coach (Kenny McFadden) gave me a goal to get a tip dunk in a game - you know, a putback dunk off a rebound. I had never done that.

"He told me that he'd get me a pair of new shoes if I did it, so I just kept trying. I couldn't get it, couldn't get it, couldn't get it.

"It took me a year or so. Finally, one game, I got it."

If the bet still stood, Adams would be banking a lot of new shoes. He averages 5.3 offensive rebounds a game, a slither ahead of the Detroit Pistons' Andre Drummond, who was named (as a replacement) to his second All-Star appearance.

The overall team statistics prove the vitality Adams brings to OKC. Adams uses offensive rebounds to create more than a quarter of his own shooting chances and to create second-chance opportunities for his teammates.

Adams leads the Thunder in blocked shots.
Adams leads the Thunder in blocked shots. Photo credit: Getty

According to NBA.com, the Thunder average 17.3 second-chance points per 100 possessions with Adams on the court - that's 6.5 points higher than the average when he's on the bench this season.

It's rare to find someone who prides their game on offensive rebounding, but Adams found a small niche that hasn't been given the attention it deserves and marked his territory through it.

He has always kept life simple, since making it to the big time, creating his own unique persona in a league full of colorful characters.

Sure, he doesn't shoot three-pointers like other big-men he goes up against (in fact, he's never taken a long-range shot in his NBA career), but his offensive rebounding, incredible strength, and tenacity are building what shapes as a long career lifespan at the Oklahoma City Thunder.

But don't just take it from me, here's a reply from NBA star CJ McCollum to a tweet from a fan putting Adams in a trade situation.

In a league where no player is deemed safe from being traded, Adams - the security blanket of OKC - certainly is.

George Berry is an intern sports reporter at Newshub.