Charles Barkley may not know Steven Adams’ name or nationality, but the well-known TNT analyst seems to be impressed with what he saw from the Thunder’s rookie center in the preseason.
“Let me tell you something, the big Australian kid, I forget his name right now…” Barkley blurted out on TNT’s season preview show Tuesday night, clearly referring to OKC’s 7-foot New Zealander.
“Adams, Steven Adams,” Barkley repeated after some help. “(The Thunder) need a big guy who can score. I think Adams is going to have a terrific rookie year. I said Oklahoma City’s only weakness is down low, they don’t get easy baskets. You have to beat up the Miami Heat. If Adams does a good job and Russell (Westbrook) comes back, there are four legit teams in the West (including the Thunder).”
It’s only a small dose of praise for Adams, a guy who is still yet to record an official NBA stat. But considering the source, it speaks to the immediate impression he has left, not just locally but nationally, with a strong preseason performance.
Barkley’s not one to single out random young guys unless they’ve really caught his eye. So, clearly, Adams has. Now if he can translate it to the regular season, which starts tonight in Utah, maybe Barkley will do a little bit more biographical research on the big fella.
Here are a couple other Thunder-related tidbits from TNT’s first Inside The NBA show of the season:
-Kenny Smith on the Thunder: “To me, the Oklahoma City Thunder is the only (contender) in the last two years who haven’t gotten better, in terms of personnel. They’ve lost too many key personnel to be back where they were.”
-Charles Barkley, giving the Thunder some more love. His thoughts on the Spurs making the Finals last year: “I think they got lucky that Oklahoma City didn’t play them. They would not have beat Oklahoma City (if Westbrook didn’t get hurt). So I think we are a little jaded. They got a sorry Laker team and beat them and then they got lucky in that next round that Oklahoma City got beat.”
-ESPN play-by-play man Mike Breen on the Thunder: “They’re one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. We get caught up on Durant and Westbrook and the numbers they put up. Defensively, year in and year out, Scotty Brooks does a great job with that team. They’re a great defensive team.”
-Shaq picked the Spurs to win the West, with OKC coming in second. Kenny Smith picked the Rockets to win the West, with OKC coming in third.