#2 Steven Adams
To start things off, I think no other player was as excited for the All-Star break than Steven Adams.
Since January 1st, Adams has only registered double-digit rebounds in five of his 20 games during that stretch. Not to mention his scoring, particularly in the last three games, fell off the map. Why? Well if you’ve watched the Thunder play, you could see that Adams is dealing with something.
But fear not, the New Zealander is typically dealing with something. He also is a different animal once we get closer to the postseason.
The 7-footer has increased his scoring and rebounding every year, culminating in this season’s near-15 and 10 output. In the span of a few months, we have all seen Adams be able to not only quarterback the defense but even take his turn in running an offense.
Adams’ ability to play high up on pick-and-rolls has allowed Oklahoma City to make that one of their defensive calling cards (along with Nerlens Noel). His athleticism, basketball IQ is ever growing. While he doesn’t have the numbers to suggest he’s having a better season than Westbrook, the steady progression and understanding that all the things he does so well matter more in the postseason, gives him the edge at two on the list.