Hard work is something Adams got from his family, particularly his father, who served in the Royal Navy.
“We grew up just doing work,” Adams said. “He made us do a lot of work.”
For the Adams family, it was normal. For other kids, it might have been too much.
“I guess that's where it's from because all my family is exactly the same,” Adams said. “They just like the manual labor kind of work.”
Being the youngest of 18 children also played a part. Chores, Adams said, routinely got passed down to him. Still do when he returns to New Zealand.
But that upbringing helped Adams join the Thunder with a strong workmanlike mentality already intact. It's helped him fit in on a team with title hopes and a locker room filled with some of the best talent in basketball.
“Honestly, it's having a good group around me with the Thunder,” Adams said when asked about his immediate success. “Obviously, I don't know anything about NBA basketball. So all I did was fully trusted and committed to them. Whatever they asked me to do I went and did and it seems to be working out pretty well.”
“All the veterans are really, really cool. There's no hidden agendas. They just want you to get better. They're all on the same boat. They try to get you better as fast as they can.”
Adams is doing his part, too.
“I think he's just trying his best to keep the game simple and not overthink it,” said Thunder guard Derek Fisher. “That's the toughest part as a first-year player. I think overall he's done a good job of it.”
Said Russell Westbrook, “He plays the game the right way, and I think when you do that stuff just flows for you.”
When Kalamian watches Adams, he sees all the makings of a player with a bright future.
“He has tremendous potential,” Kalamian said. “It's all based on his growth and how quickly he picks the game up from his position, the opportunity that he receives in terms of minutes and how hard he's going to work at it. A lot of that stuff is going to come from within. But he's a diligent young man and he works hard. He's got a good spirit about him and he wants to learn and grow.”