Basketball: Adams won't play at World Cup

Steven Adams won't take part in the World Cup for New Zealand. Photo / AP
Steven Adams won't take part in the World Cup for New Zealand. Photo / AP

Steven Adams has confirmed he won't play for the Tall Blacks at the Basketball World Cup in Spain.

Adams' rookie NBA season with the Oklahoma City Thunder is over after the side failed to make the Finals following a 4-2 series defeat to the San Antonio Spurs.

It was hoped he would be made available for New Zealand at the tournament beginning in August. However, Adams has told reporters in the United States he'll be focusing on playing for the Thunder in the Summer League instead of going to Spain.

New Zealand open their campaign against Turkey on August 30 and face the United States three days later where Adams' Thunder teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are expected to line up for the US.

Adams made 18 appearances in his first trip to the playoffs, averaging 18.4 minutes and 4.1 rebounds per game.

The 20-year-old said he needs to spend the off-season working on his game with the Thunder coaching staff.

"I got a ton more to learn. I made a good step this year, but it's nowhere near where I need to be, get into good habits and be smart enough to go and workout on my own."

Adams also revealed he'll be returning to New Zealand in the off-season but may need to wear a disguise due to his new celebrity status.

"I think it'll be pretty weird. Just cause, yeah, they're huge Thunder fans, apparently, which is awesome, very cool.

"I actually bought a facemask...it's like a Balaclava. So I got that, I might wear that around. But it's going to be ridiculous, probably, because I like to be out a lot. I got a lot of restaurants I like to eat at, smash out some food. So yeah, it's going to be quite annoying."

Adams joked that he may need sister Valerie Adams for protection.

- With Newstalk ZB

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