It looks like Steven Adams is becoming like one of the hottest commodities in the 2013 NBA Draft for those picking outside the top 5 and in need of a big man, with the next team linked to his future being the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Thunder aren’t really pleased with Kendrick Perkins or with the options they have replacing him on the bench. It’s not just his offensive inactivity (4.2 points per game last season) but his defense has been slipping as well, making $8.9 million he is going to be paid next season seem a bit much.

Steven Adams

Adams, the freshman center coming out of Pittsburgh, was always going to be a first round pick, but after his impressive performance at the NBA Draft-combine in Chicago, his stock rose a lot higher, with some even thinking he’ll be taken in the top 10.

The Thunder have three first round draft picks: 12th, 29th, and 32nd. They’re hoping that the 12th pick will be high enough to take Adams, and that the New Zealander is going to be the kind of player who can make an impact right away, although it’s not going to be a big role right from the start, as the Thunder hardly give their rookies too much floor time, not to mention sometimes sending them to the D-League, regardless of how high their pick is.

Adams averaged 7.2 points and 6.3 rebounds during his only season at Pitt, but the 19-year old knew his draft stock was going to be high, as it always is for 7-footers who seem to be quite NBA-ready very early on. He won’t provide too much scoring early on, but considering the options the Thunder have on the bench to replace either Serge Ibaka or Kendrick Perkins, Adams seems like the perfect player to add another minor upgrade to make the Thunder a very complete-looking team.

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