Oklahoma City Thunder: Untapped potential, physical attributes make Steven Adams an intriguing prospect

Steven Adams is 7 feet tall with a 7-foot-4 1/2 wingspan, weighs 255 pounds, has huge, soft hands and won't turn 20 until July 28.
BY JOHN ROHDE Published: June 10, 2013


photo - Pittsburgh's Steven Adams passes the ball during team warmup before the NCAA college basketball game against Villanova on Sunday, March 3, 2013 in Pittsburgh. Reports said Adams was injured in practice on Saturday and may not play against Villanova.(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Pittsburgh's Steven Adams passes the ball during team warmup before the NCAA college basketball game against Villanova on Sunday, March 3, 2013 in Pittsburgh. Reports said Adams was injured in practice on Saturday and may not play against Villanova.(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

“I'm a high-energy guy, running the lane,” Adams said when asked how he'll be able to succeed as an NBA player. “I like transition, running up and down (the court), stuff like that, also just being physical. I'm working on my post game now, so that's eventually going to come around. I don't think I'll go out and straight-away dominate, but I will dominate certain tasks that they put me up to.”

Asked which NBA player he would like to pattern his game after, Adams said: “Just to be versatile, so … like (Thunder power forward) Serge Ibaka, maybe. Someone like that. Or maybe (Memphis center) Marc Gasol because he's the man, right? Oh, my God.”

Coincidentally, Adams is one of 18 siblings in his family — as is Ibaka. Six members of this Adams family played basketball for New Zealand. His brothers' average height is 6-foot-9 and his half-sister, Valerie, is a three-time world champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist in the shot put.

When last season ended, Adams told reporters he would be returning for his sophomore season. After visiting with his family for a week in New Zealand, Adams returned to Pittsburgh and shortly thereafter declared for the June 27 draft to help his family financially.

Pitt coach Jamie Dixon played professional basketball in New Zealand and competed with and against two of Adams' brothers — Warren and Ralph — whom Dixon said both should have been in the NBA.



Editor's note: As part of the James Harden trade with Houston last October, the Thunder obtained the No. 12 overall selection in the June 27 NBA Draft via Toronto. We look at 12 potential candidates the Thunder might consider taking with that No. 12 pick. Today: Pittsburgh center Steven Adams.

STEVEN ADAMS

Height: 7-foot

Weight: 255

Birth date: July 28, 1993

Hometown: Rotorua, New Zealand

School: Pittsburgh

Class: Freshman

2012-13 stats: 23.4 mpg; 7.2 ppg; 6.3 rpg; 2.0 bpg; .571 FG; .443 FT

Strengths: Excels in transition and loves to run. Good speed and quickness for a big man. Hits the boards hard offensively. The physical tools are all in place and he has plenty of time to learn how to use them because he's still just 19 years old. Considered the best player in a huge, athletic family of 18 siblings.

Weaknesses: Free-throw shooting is atrocious. Limited offensive skills set, but he certainly knows how to dunk and finished well around that basket. His 12.3 points per-40 minutes played is fourth-lowest scoring average among the 75 college players considered the best draft prospects.

How he could help the Thunder: Willing to accept any role thrown his way. Freely admits he has a lot to learn and working to improve his limitations. Doesn't back down from competition. Has an impressive disposition. He is confident, yet polite.

Projections: No. 10 (draftexpress.com); No. 12 (espn.com; nbadraft.net); No. 15 (hoopshype.com); No. 16 (si.com); No. 18 (cbssports.com).

Quotable: “It's time for me to help my family. There's certain family members who I feel need a bit more help than the others. I don't like seeing them struggle. It's quite sad to see your family struggle, you know what I'm saying. I don't want to see that anymore.” — Adams on why he changed his mind about returning for his sophomore season at Pitt and declared for this year's NBA Draft.

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