ORLANDO, Fla. — Three summer league games have shown Steven Adams exactly how he needs to spend the remainder of his off-season.
“Free throws, bro. Straight free throws,” he said. “Just working on that, bro.”
In the Thunder’s disappointing 94-71 loss to Indiana on Wednesday, the second-year center missed another six foul shots on 10 attempts.
It dropped his summer league free-throw percentage to 47.8 percent.
He connected on 58.1 percent at the stripe as a rookie.
“We had a two-week break, and I got advice to do nothing,” Adams said, explaining that he hasn’t been practicing his shooting. “At the end of the season I was kind of, like, ‘Oh, he sucks at free throws.’ But now it’s like, ‘Oh my God. This guy’s rubbish.’ You know what I mean? So I got to get back to being, like, sucky at free throws and we’ll go from there.”
But between trips to the foul line, Adams also will spend ample time down on the low block.
The Thunder throughout this week in Orlando has been working on Adams’ back-to-the-basket game, and if for whatever reason Pau Gasol passes up the Thunder, the team could turn to Adams to solve its longtime search for a low-post scoring threat.
“That’s exactly what we’re working on,” said Thunder assistant/summer league coach Darko Rajakovic. “We want to see Steven be able to get the ball on the low post more and create from there.”
Adams has all the tools to be successful.
At 7-feet, 250 pounds, he has ideal size and mixes that with strength, timing and footwork. He put all that and more on display throughout Wednesday’s game.
Against 6-foot-10 inch Pacers forward Willie Reed, Adams went to work time and time again from the left block. He scored four of his nine points in the opening two minutes, his first bucket coming on a quick and nifty post move that ended with a layup.
Even though Adams went just 3-for-6 Wednesday, you could see signs of him developing into a quality post presence. He showed great patience on his catches, solid awareness of his surroundings and good vision and passing ability when playing in a crowd.