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Oklahoma City Thunder selects Pittsburgh's Steven Adams with 12th pick

OKC adds Colorado's Andre Roberson later in first round, takes Spain's Alex Abrines in second round.
By John Rohde Published: June 27, 2013

An unpredictable NBA Draft resulted in a predictable opening selection for the Thunder on Thursday night.

In dire need of a post presence, OKC selected 7-foot, 255-pound center Steven Adams with the No. 12 pick.

Numerous pre-draft reports had the Thunder attempting to obtain the No. 1 pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers or the No. 2 pick from the Orlando Magic, but to no avail.

“It’s funny, this was an interesting draft in so many ways,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said, addressing the media after midnight. “We explored a lot of different things, obviously not a lot of it was what was being reported, but that’s not a surprise at this time of year.

“We looked at moving up. We looked at moving back. We had some different concepts to move out of the draft if different players weren’t available when we selected. … We looked at everything, just like every team would. We’re thrilled with where we ended up.”

Born in New Zealand, the 19-year-old Adams became the first Kiwi to be drafted in the first round. He flashed a New Zealand flag sewn on the inside lining of his suit and thanked Kiwi fans during his post-selection interview at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“Yeah, it’s pretty cool,” the well-humored and affable Adams said in a brief teleconference call with local media. “I’m just really trying to break away for all the rest of the New Zealanders to come through and hopefully pass me.”

The Thunder surrendered the No. 29 overall selection (Kentucky guard Archie Goodwin) and cash to move up three spots in the first round and obtain Colorado forward Andre Roberson, who originally was selected by Minnesota at No. 26.

With the second pick in the second round (No. 32 overall), OKC selected 19-year-old shooting guard Alex Abrines, who will remain with his elite club in Spain until the Thunder deems him ready for the NBA.

After the draft, Presti confirmed the Thunder also acquired Arizona power forward Grant Jerrett (No. 40 overall) from Portland for cash considerations.

All told, OKC wound up getting three 19-year-olds and the 21-year-old Roberson.

“Once again, Thunder U is served,” vice president/assistant general manager Troy Weaver said.

Considered a project, Adams played one season at Pittsburgh and almost certainly will spend his rookie season playing with the Tulsa 66ers, the Thunder’s Developmental League affiliate.

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