Steven Adams is a Memphis Grizzly, mate.
Who would’ve thought?
Let’s be real though, Steven Adams is perfect for the city of Memphis. He knows it too. “You couldn’t take a night off when you would come here, it’s a gritty feel here,” Adams talked about playing against Memphis in the past, and his initial reaction to the trade.
Adams is also well aware that you may still be hurting from Zach Randolph’s game seven suspension from punching Steven Adams in the 2014 NBA Playoffs. “We’ve got some patching work to do,” Adams told the Chris Vernon Show on Media Day.
Adams is also aware that traditional big men like himself are a dying breed in today’s NBA. It has become more of a three-point shooting league, where even seven foot big men are popping versus rolling to create. However, don’t let Adams fool you, he can shoot the three ball, but just won’t commit to it. In Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach Taylor Jenkins ‘Let it Fly’ practice drill, Adams shot the ball well from beyond the arc.
However, he knows what his strengths are. Wearing the opponent down with a beat down below the rim. Grabbing rebounds, setting thunderous screens for his new electric Point Guard Ja Morant, and helping create for his teammates.
I would say that Adams heard the chatter around the league following his down season in New Orleans, but he doesn’t put expectations on too many things. Adams talked with JJ Redick last season on the Three Four Two Podcast about a laundry list of things. One of which, not expecting to make it to the NBA, along with college life, which was underwhelming in his eyes.
Long story short, Adams doesn’t care what you or any reporter thinks he should do. When asked about his playmaking abilities at the top of they key hitting cutters, Adams said “I’m just hitting cutters bro. Coach wants to run more splitting actions, and I just make the pass, mate.”
For his career, Adams has averaged one of the most traditional stat lines ever - 7.6 points per game, along with 8.9 rebounds. Adams brings a element to this Grizzlies team that has been needed for several seasons now, and that is a switchable big man on the perimeter. Is he the best perimeter big man? No, but he’s comfortable helping on the opposing screens that involve Ja Morant at the top of the key.
Jonas Valanciunas did a lot of good things for the Memphis Grizzlies, but one thing that opposing teams took advantage of was his lack of defensive versatility on the perimeter. Adams gives you that, while also recovering to the boards following a shot. Adams is just a gritty player all around.
And while people have criticized third year star Jaren Jackson Jr.’s rebounding abilities, the two benefit from one another. While Adams won’t be looking to attempt a three-pointer, Jackson keeps the floor spaced with his shooting capabilities. Not only that, but Jackson’s rebounding numbers are up through three preseason games.
“Having Steven here, he’s shown me how to hold guys off (when rebounding),” Jackson told the media following Memphis’ preseason win against the Detroit Pistons. Steven Adams does more on the floor than any stat could tell you. From setting off ball screens, giving Coach Jenkins defensive versatility, to just trying to help Memphis build on last season.
If you’re a stat person, yeah, you make think Adams is washed and out of his prime. From they eye test alone, Adams is just breaking into his prime years as a big man in the NBA. Adams could be embarking on a career season in Memphis with an increased role. For Adams, it’ll be about playing as hard as possible, and doing what his coaches and teammates need of him.