When center Steven Adams signed his $100 million contract extension this year, Oklahoma City was hoping his offensive game would leap to the next level, taking pressure off of superstar point guard Russell Westbrook.
And even though Adams is putting up the most points per game he has had in a season (11.7 PPG) the Thunder has to feature Adams more on offense.
When Kevin Durant left for the Golden State Warriors and Serge Ibaka was traded to the Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City was losing the majority of its offense from a year ago.
According to basketball-reference.com, Durant and Ibaka combined for 30 shot attempts in 2015-16, which calculated for 35 percent of the team's total shots per game.
Having an extra 30 shots available, it was widely expected that majority of those extra 30 shots would go to newly acquisition Victor Oladipo and Adams. With Oladipo shooting 14 shots per game, Adams is only shooting three more shots than he did a year ago.
That's just not acceptable if the Thunder want to reach the next level.
Now with Oladipo out, who has been out the last few games with a sprained wrist, Oklahoma City has to involve Adams more on offense.
Oklahoma City runs its offense at best when Westbrook and Adams can run pick-and-roll. Both players have been with each other for the last four seasons and have worked on their chemistry with running pick-and-roll. When they run it, the duo looks unstoppable. But when they can't, the offense becomes stagnant.
Even if they can't run pick-and-roll with their opponent forcing them to run another play, Westbrook has to look for Adams down low in the post and make him work down low. He has worked all offseason with fellow center Enes Kanter on his offense, and it has shown throughout this season.
And with this Thunder team this season, this is a team that is at best scoring in the paint as opposed to shooting outside shots. According to basketball-reference.com, Oklahoma City leads the entire NBA in points in the paint per game (50.3 PITP) 47 percent of the team's total points per game (106.5 PPG).
With that being said, Oklahoma City has to find a way to feature Adams more on offense because let's be realistic, it's going to be hard for Westbrook to carry this team by himself even if he records a triple-double for the entire season.
Yes, Oladipo is hands down the second best scorer on the Thunder right behind Westbrook. But for the time being with Oladipo out, Oklahoma City has to find a way to feature its $100 million center more on offense if they want any chance of climbing back up the standings in the Western Conference.