One of the toughest things to do in professional sports is to crack the playing rotation on a new team. Unless you’re a big name free agent or a prized addition via a trade, you’ve got your work cut out for you in training camp to earn some minutes and crack the rotation.
Then you have the rest of the season to bust your tail just to keep your spot.
In many ways it’s kind of like being the new kid in high school. The last thing you want on your first day is a bit zit on your nose that makes you look like Rudolf. Anything that sets you apart and makes you stand out in a bad way is definitely a negative things and is avoided like the plague.
While you can usually rebound from a tough first day, there’s also the fear that you’ve been given a social label you can’t shed.
Being an NBA player on a new team is no different then being a new kid in high school.
When a player starts with a new team they want to put their best foot forward and don’t want to be slowed by an injury which will limit their ability to produce on the court. If they do, they can expect to languish on the bench for most of the season if not the rest of the time of that contract.
Adams’ signing with Toronto barely made a ripple on the NBA landscape this summer and things were compounded when he was slowed by am injury to his shoulder. Not the way to crack your way into the playing rotation when you’re already being heralded by the local media as a fringe player at best. As a shooting guard not having his normal full range of motion it was a surefire way for Adams to lose an opportunity to secure some burn early on this season.
Adams wasn’t fazed by his slow start and has since recently healed from this injury. Now that he’s healthy and playing without a shoulder sleeve he’s ready to contribute during games, not just on the practice court.
“My shoulder has been good for about a month now,” Adams informed Hoops Addict this weekend. “When you get injured, it’s just about getting your strength back and I’m obviously trying to work my way back into the rotation. If I keep practicing hard my opportunity will come.”
Over the first 34 games of the season it’s been easy for Raptors fans to forget about Adams. With Adams playing in 12 games for a combined 52 minutes so far this season there hasn’t been anything to warrant grabbing the attention of the local media or Raptors fans. However, just because you don’t see him in games it doesn’t mean he’s not working hard. Even though he’s not getting burn during games he’s been working hard after the games working out and during practices preparing so that he’ll be ready when he gets an opportunity.
“Just talking with the coaches they’re big with communication,” said a hopeful Adams after the win against Houston where he secured five minutes of playing time. “They keep telling me to stay ready because I never know when I will get into a game. I’m used to staying ready for whenever my number is called.”
Sometimes all it takes for a player to get loose is an opportunity to show what he can do. In the game against Houston on Friday, he played five minutes while scoring four points and snagging two rebounds.
Not eye-popping numbers by any means, but it might just be what Adams needed to gain some confidence and earn a chance for more playing time in the near future.
“Just to get on the floor builds up your confidence,” Adams told Hoops Addict while relaxing at his locker. “I’ve been playing basketball all my life and it’s a fun game, but at the same time you want to be on the floor. It’s not like someone else shouldn’t be, it’s just that you love the game and you want to play. We have a great coaching staff and group of guys and I know my time will come. The coaches tell me that all the time. I just need to keep staying positive with myself.”
With Toronto needing a wing player to step up and Adams finally healthy it looks like he will get his chance to play some minutes and show that he earns some minutes this season. What he does with that opportunity is now up to him.
There are no more excuses about being the new kid or being slowed by an injury, it’s time to step up and prove he deserves some minutes in Jay Triano’s rotation.
Photo Credit: ICON Sports Media