“He's like a sponge,” said Kalamian. “He really soaks things up very well and he's given us good feedback on how he feels.
“He asks a lot of questions. He's not afraid to not know about a coverage or what we're doing defensively, or offensively where he should be.”
Adams also is physical. His size, strength and willingness to bang down low are a few of the reasons the Thunder selected him.
When cutters attempted to get to their spot during summer league play, Adams instinctively would step in and give them a little nudge with his shoulder. When matched up against low-post players, Adams bodied up to them and consistently bumped them off their spots.
“That's one of the things that we're going to require out of Steven is that he play physical basketball,” Kalamian said. “Luckily for us, he likes to play that way.”
Adams figured his fondness for physical play stemmed from rugby.
“All New Zealanders are kind of physical,” he said. “They don't mind getting hit.”
In the Thunder's third game in Orlando, one of his most impressive performances, Adams played Detroit's promising second-year center Andre Drummond to a virtual draw. He held Drummond to 12 points on 6-for-10 shooting while scoring 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting at the other end.
“He's a very physical guy,” said Drummond, who also played against Adams in high school during Adams' one-year at Notre Dame Prep.
When the ball is thrown up and it's time for business, it's hard to tell that Adams is still two weeks shy of his 20th birthday.
You also wouldn't imagine how laid back he is off the court.
Food is one of his biggest fetishes.
“He loves food,” said Liggins. “He goes crazy about food. Any food. He wants food.”
Less than three minutes after Liggins revealed that information, Adams walked around the corner with a plate piled high with food. He was the only Thunder player to emerge from the locker room with a plate.
“Food is amazing,” Adams said. “I love food. It's good. It's from my family, I guess. My family is quite big and we all eat a ton so I think that's where it came from.”
In the days leading up to the draft, Adams devoured a 48-oz steak. He had his first hot dog last Saturday in Orlando. He didn't see the big deal.
During the draft combine, former Louisville center Gorgui Dieng, now with Minnesota, suggested Adams get a shirt that reads “Eating Never Stops,” a play off of Nike's slogan “Basketball Never Stops.”
“I'm just a New Zealand guy,” Adams said.
With a big appetite and a burning desire to become the best player and teammate he can be.
When asked what he wants to accomplish in his first season, Adams answered with only one word.
“Improvement,” he said.
He then added that he wants to make sure it's “quite a big jump.”
“After my rookie year,” Adams said. “I just want to make sure that I really learned everything that I could in that year and make sure I didn't miss anything.”