Steven Adams and Clint Capela Will Have a Huge Impact on the WCF
James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Paul George. All-Stars, Superstars, MVP’s, Team Leaders, Hall-of-Famers. We all know the names. We all know the accomplishments. Given all of that, Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams and Houston’s Clint Capela may decide the Western Conference playoffs.
The Rockets don’t work without Capela. The Thunder don’t work without Adams. Both of these teams have given the Warriors fits this season. Almost all the three-pointers the Rockets put up are wide-open looks. That happens when Capela has an impact inside. He spaces the floor. When Harden and Chris Paul take it to the hole, the help coming from inside defenders generally leaves Capela open for the lob. Not only does this open up a myriad of open 3’-s, it demoralizes the defense.
Capela runs screen and rolls with Harden and Paul.
For the Thunder, Adams runs screen and rolls with Westbrook. If the defense switches, they’re too slow on the guards and too slow on the big men. If they don’t switch, Adams and Capela set good enough screens to get shooters open and drivers all the way to the rim. Both guys play hard! Both guys are rim-runners. The guards know where they’ll be. They know their roles. They both are rim-protectors on the defensive end and have a big impact there as well.
Come playoff time, every year, the number of possessions decreases. This is the way the Thunder like it. That makes Adams even more valuable. He will beat on people in the half-court. If they make it to the conference semifinals, he will take a lot out of either the Warriors or the Rockets.
In the case of Capela, he can out-run and out-quick the other bigs in the West. He will beat bigs down the floor. This is huge because whoever gets back on defense will have to drop all the way to the rim to guard him, which leaves shooters even more wide-open. The game then becomes easier for Harden, Paul, Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, Joe Johnson,…Man have they got shooters!
So, who’s going to win the West? The San Antonio Spurs! OK, maybe not, but no matter who does, it’s going to be a helluva ride!