Steven Adams admitted he's a "rugby guy" but that didn't stop him and an Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team-mate from invading a high profile American gridiron training session.

In their precious free time before reporting to NBA training camp, Adams and Andre Roberson turned up at Heritage Hall's high school football practice in Oklahoma.

Adams, who started off in sandals before going barefoot, admitted to very little American football knowledge. But he says he has a newfound appreciation for the sport after throwing a few passes to his Thunder teammate.

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"It's actually really difficult," Adams said. "I'm a rugby guy, but I actually appreciate it more. ... Yeah, these guys are amazing as well."

Adams emerged from a coach's office wearing a No. 77 jersey and a helmet, his long dark hair flowing out the back. The star centre played rugby in New Zealand, but it was his first time ever putting on a football helmet. Roberson went all out - full gear from head-to-toe.

"Do you drink water through here?" a confused Adams asked through his face mask.

Both players elevated their games during the postseason when the Thunder pushed the Golden State Warriors to the limit in an epic seven-game Western Conference Finals series.

Now that Kevin Durant has joined the enemy and Serge Ibaka has been traded, they'll need to evolve even more this season, noted leading American sports website TheBleacherReport.

Adams and Roberson expressed confidence in the next era of Thunder basketball. Both were instrumental in the run to the conference finals last season, but Adams and Roberson are taking on new responsibilities.

No Durant means Roberson may start at small forward and see more minutes at power forward. No Ibaka makes Adams the defensive backbone of the frontcourt.

"I'm not gonna try to go crazy or anything like that," Adams said. "It's a five-man thing, right? So, just stick to whatever the coach says and we'll be better off, regardless."

The trademark Adams nonchalance permeated throughout the offseason. When asked if he was concerned about a contract extension - which the Thunder has until the end of October to get done, otherwise Adams hits restricted free agency next summer - the 23-year-old said he'd "play it by ear."

When Durant made his decision to sign with Golden State on July 4, Adams said he got the news six hours late in New Zealand.

"It was a surprise, mate, but yeah ... oh well," Adams shrugged. "If he's happy, all good."