So much attention is lavished on the minor contributions of the squad of Aussie players who have found roles in the NBA, that Oklahoma City Thunder Steven Adams, a 24-year-old giant who was born in Rotorua, New Zealand.
After a brief stint with the Wellington Saints in 2011 (champions), Adams headed for the verdant pastures of the University of Pittsburgh for 2012 and 2013, after which OKC grabbed him in the 2013 NBA draft.
We are uncertain if Adams has any rugby skills, but he looks as though he could step straight into an All Blacks kit and immediately run amok over any and all comers.
Adams made news recently when he notched an impressive performance in a road victory over the Indiana Pacers where he scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in 35 minutes of action.
It was his fourth double double in the last sixth games and his ninth of the 2017 – 2018 NBA season.
Adams would freely admit that having reigning NBA MVP Russel Westbrook feeding him the ball facilitates his (Adams’) scoring, but Adams has to do most of the heavy lifting of clearing the boards on his own.
OKC is struggling a bit to find its way after losing Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors, but they have improved of late and the road win against the Pacers, no longer the pushovers they once were, dropped Indiana to 16 – 12 for the season.
Adams is turning out nicely on the defensive side of the court as well. Against Indiana, he held the Pacers’ big man Myles Turner to three makes from 11 attempts, effectively neutralising Indiana’s centre.
His contributions were much needed on a rare off night for Russell Westbrook, who was searching to find his shooting rhythm, going just three of 17 from the floor. Westbrook did finish with a triple double, however, so even on an off night; it is easy to see why he is the MVP.
Adams will get a prime opportunity to strut his stuff when the Thunder tours Philadelphia for a game against the 76ers and rookie sensation Aussie Ben.