Basketball: Adams' new Oklahoma club appears bound for the top

By Reuben Bradley

It's hard to think how the 2013 NBA Draft could have panned out better for Steven Adams' long-term career.

The 19-year-old from Rotorua, via the University of Pittsburgh, is on his way to Oklahoma City today, after being selected at number 12 in New York City yesterday.

But not only is Adams now part of an NBA franchise, he's at one of the league's most impressive clubs.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are a team on the verge of a huge upswing, with stars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant at the peak of their careers.

The team are considered a championship contender next season.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they do get a championship next year, because their programme is really good," says Adams. "All I'm going to do is just be super supportive and help out in any way I can, even if it's just being on the bench, staying positive with the boys, just training hard and competing with them.

"If that leads to a championship, I'll do it. I'll do anything to win a championship."

Adams says the team itself also knows it's on the verge of something special.

"That's the main goal for the whole organisation. We're all going to be on the same boat preparing for the same thing."

The Thunder fell at the final hurdle last year, when they were overpowered by the now back-to-back champions Miami Heat.

Adams will be among the backup centres for current first choice Kendrick Perkins.

However, Perkins will be 30 by the time his contract expires in two years, so the Thunder may consider grooming Adams to take over the number one centre role.

For now, though, Adams will play second fiddle, something his long-time mentor Kenny McFadden says is perfect for him. "I think that's a good fit. They've got a whole bunch of veterans, but they're all young, and they're very energetic.

"They love to get up and down the court. It fits his game perfectly," says McFadden.

However, Adams is also going to a city where the top sports franchise is more than just another team.

For many it's a source of escape and hope after the devastating tornado that struck the city last month.

"I love Oklahoma City. I learned about the history behind it and why they play, and all the communities behind them," says Adams.

"They went through a tough time, and they keep coming back."

Reuben Bradley

- NZ Herald

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