Steven Adams has taken Oklahoma City by storm. After only three years with the Thunder, he is without a doubt one of the most loved players on the team. You could easily describe “the Big Kiwi” as a fan favorite. If you aren’t sure about that, I would suggest you go checkout his mural in downtown OKC.
Adams was born in Rotorua, New Zealand in 1993. It is hard to believe that the big man we see out there on the court is only 23 years old. He grew up the youngest of 18 children. His entire family is athletic and above average in height. His brothers all average out to be 6’9″, and his sisters average out at 6’0″. Valerie Adams, one of his sisters, is an Olympic Gold Medalist in shot-put, and his brother Sid plays professional basketball in New Zealand.
Adams played college basketball at Pittsburgh for one year in 2012. Adams made the Big East All-Rookie Team averaging 7.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. His shooting percentage was the highest amongst first year players in Pittsburgh history at 57.1%.
The Thunder selected Adams 12th overall in the 2013 draft. He was the first player from New Zealand to be drafted in the first round. He was also the first player from Pittsburgh to be selected in the first round since Vonteego Cummings in 1999.
The big man has evolved in insane way over the last three seasons. He only played 15 minutes per game his rookie season, averaging 3.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Fast forwarding to last season: his minutes increased to 25 per game, and his production doubled since his rookie year. He recorded 8.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game, with a 15.5 player efficiency rating (PER).
Looking at this coming season, Adams has to be one of the most exciting players for the Thunder. While recording career high numbers last season, he was also dealing with a number of minor injuries for a good portion of the year. If he can stay healthy this year, there’s no telling what the New Zealander will accomplish.
Adams rolled his ankle in the Thunder’s preseason game on October 3rd versus Real Madrid. After barely limping off the court (even though he was clearly in pain), it was reported that he had sprained his right ankle. He has not played in a game since then, but did return to practice Wednesday morning, though it should be noted he did leave practice early and did not return.