Steven Adams has continued to win over NBA fans following reports of his latest actions to improve the culture of the Memphis Grizzlies but a well-known US sports broadcaster claims he is "not good enough" to do so.
Adams garnered admiration from around the NBA yesterday after reports surfaced he spoke up during a recent players-only meeting, challenging his side - and in particular superstar Ja Morant - to have better discipline around road games.
Morant has been sidelined indefinitely while the NBA investigate a video he posted on his Instagram account on the weekend of himself holding what appeared to be a gun at a nightclub, hours after playing a game in Denver.
Adams reportedly spoke of a need to show better discipline on the road and staying away from going out while doing so and despite it being an open challenge, those in the room felt it was directed straight at Morant.
While Adams is the most senior player on the team and brings years of much-needed playoff experience to the young Grizzlies core when it comes to the end of the season, US sports personality Skip Bayless argued the big Kiwi doesn't have the weight to throw around such challenges.
Speaking on his show Undisputed to co-host Shannon Sharpe - who coincidentally Adams, Morant and the Grizzlies had a run-in with during a courtside scuffle last month - Bayless said the New Zealand centre's words mean little.
"There's not a veteran leader on the Grizzlies except for Steven Adams, and I'm not sure he counts, because he's not good enough, he's not a rising star," Bayless said.
"When he made his comments, I'm sure ears were opened, but when Ja is listening to those comments, they don't just go in one ear and out the other, I don't even think they go in one ear.
"Because I don't think Ja is going to listen to Steven Adams, that's just me."
Bayless' comments come despite numerous times Morant has heaped praise on Adams since he arrived at the Grizzlies in a trade in August 2021.
Adams' offensive rebounding has been a key contribution to Memphis' success but Morant said earlier this year other things, such as his physicality and basketball IQ, need more praise.
“Sometimes a lot of things he does go unnoticed, and it’s time for everyone to see that," Morant said in January.
While the NBA investigates Morant's latest issue, the 23-year-old said he would take some time to "grow and get better" and apologised for his recent behaviour.
“I’m going to take some time away to get help and work on learning better methods of dealing with stress and my overall well-being,” said Morant in a statement released by the agency that represents him.
The NBA could suspend or fine Morant, and he also could face misdemeanour charges in Colorado if police find he was under the influence while holding a gun.