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2020-21 Pelicans Season in Review: Steven Adams

  • Age 27
  • Experience Eight seasons (one with Pelicans)
  • Games Played/Games Started 58/58

Current Oklahoma City head coach Mark Daigneault joined the Thunder organization one season after Adams, giving him an up-close view of the center’s contributions to a team that reached the playoffs six out of his seven years there. The 6-foot-11 New Zealand native didn’t put up gaudy scoring numbers, but OKC coaches always appreciated Adams for the underrated, intangible ways he generated victories.

“He’s going to help you win, regardless of who he’s fitting in with,” Daigneault said. “He does literally all of the little things that are continuous on possessions to help your team win, from communicating in pick-and-roll, to communicating in transition, to screening angles, to helping your team in huddles. Obviously loose balls and offensive rebounds. Those are transferrable skills that can fit any team, any personnel group.”

    Steven Adams Key Stats from 2020-21 NBA Season

  • PTS Per Game 7.6
  • REB Per Game 8.9
  • OREB Per Game 3.7
  • FG % 61.4

The 2020-21 campaign was a unique one for everyone around the NBA, but even more for Adams, who was traded for the first time in his career, joining New Orleans days before training camp. Prior to injuries curtailing his appearances and production in the latter half of the season, Adams started quickly in a new uniform, notching 10 double-doubles in his first 35 games played. He finished with 13 double-doubles, as well as his first career triple-double (in a one-point loss Jan. 6 to his former team, OKC). The University of Pittsburgh product finished fourth in the NBA in offensive rebounding, behind only Atlanta’s Clint Capela, Memphis’ Jonas Valanciunas and Portland’s Enes Kanter.

Partly behind the play of backup bigs Willy Hernangomez and Jaxson Hayes, the Pelicans were competitive when Adams was sidelined early in the season, but his absence due to a foot injury proved too much to overcome in May. New Orleans lost five of the final six games Adams missed, ending hopes of adding to his tally of 59 career playoff games.

“(He) brings a little grit to our team, a little toughness,” forward Brandon Ingram said after Adams snared 20 rebounds in a win over Milwaukee. “That’s where the (team) energy starts, getting big rebounds on the defensive end when we’re getting stops.”

“He’s a big part of this team on both sides of the ball, even if he doesn’t score,” guard Lonzo Ball said. “We know he impacts the game far more than scoring.”

Steven Adams | By The Numbers

  • 7

    New Orleans ranking among the 30 NBA teams in defensive efficiency after the All-Star break. Adams on the second-half improvement: “Taking the analytical cap off, I feel like we did start seeing a lot more consistency with (defensive) rotations. That comes down to prioritizing different threats, not being bamboozled by smoke-screen plays.”

  • 10.3

    Adams rebounding average in the 26 wins New Orleans registered when he played. His board average in the 32 losses he played was 7.7. That marks quite a differential, considering he logged almost exactly the same amount of minutes in victories (27.8 mpg) as he did in defeats (27.6).

  • 10

    Career high in assists for Adams, who oddly handed out 10 dimes vs. Oklahoma City on Jan. 6 but had no more than five assists in any other game this season. In fact, his second-best assist tally over his entire eight-year career is six, set Nov. 18, 2019, in a Thunder loss to the Clippers at Staples Center.

Steven Adams | Most Notable Games from 2020-21 NBA Season

  • #1, Feb. 24, New Orleans 128, Detroit 118

    Adams tormented the Pistons in the paint by compiling his biggest double-double of the campaign, featuring 14 points and 15 rebounds (six offensive boards). He shot 7/8 from the field, highlighting New Orleans’ 56 percent shooting night.

  • #2, Dec. 31, New Orleans 113, Oklahoma City 80

    Sure, it was a double-double for Adams (14 points, 10 rebounds), but more significantly, the Pelicans rolled to a 33-point road win. Adams, a seven-year former member of the Thunder, got to enjoy his first trip to the Sooner State as a visiting player.

  • #3, Jan. 29, New Orleans 131, Milwaukee 126

    Adams went full beast mode on the backboards against the Bucks, pulling down 10 offensive rebounds – and 10 defensive rebounds, for a total of 20 caroms. That helped keep New Orleans competitive on the glass and beat the East’s No. 3 seed on ESPN.

Sourced from Pelicans

EltasZone Sportswriters, Sports Analysts, Opinion columnists, editorials and op-eds. Analysis from The Zone Team
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