Five way too early bold predictions for the OKC Thunder upcoming season

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Steven Adams, OKC Thunder (Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Steven Adams has a career year

Steven Adams had one of his best years as a pro for the OKC Thunder last season. Averaging 13.9 points per game and 9.5 rebounds, there’s a reason to believe given the Thunder’s offseason pickups in Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander that Adams will be the primary benefactor of their pick-and-roll abilities.

CP3 has long been one of the best pick and roll players of this generation and was a big factor in the success of Clint Capela and DeAndre Jordan, who are both two of the top roll men in recent years.

Add in Shai-Gilgeous-Alexanders above average pick and roll ability and that’s an upgrade in terms of playmaking from the Westbrook-Ferguson backcourt of last season. Shai came into the NBA as a crafty and effective pick-and-roll player and it only continued throughout his first year in the NBA.

Add in Gallinari who is also a solid passer and you have three potential playmakers that will share the court with Adams next season.

Contrary to popular belief, with the subtraction of Russell Westbrook, I don’t expect Steven Adams rebounding numbers to increase all that much. Coming out of college Adams was an offensive rebounding machine and a so-so defensive rebounder. Here’s what DraftExpress had to say on Adams coming out of school

"Adams also isn’t as good of a defensive rebounder as you might hope, ranking second to last in that category among top-100 collegiate centers. He rarely boxes out opponents, mistimes his jumps, and has a difficult time coming away with loose balls in traffic because of his questionable hands, something he’ll need to improve on considering the role he’ll be expected to play in the NBA."

This stands true with Adams today and I don’t expect gaudy rebound totals with Westbrook and George no longer there to collect ~18 rebounds a night.

Adams soft touch around the basket combined with a variety of post moves and an elite push shot from mid-range that can easily be facilitated by the additional playmaking in the starting five should result in a career year for the 26 year old center.

Stats Prediction: 16 points/12 rebounds/2 assists