Steven Adams is in contention to play in his first NBA All-Star game - but he might not want the honour.

The New Zealand centre has been having a career-best season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, averaging career highs in points per game (15.5), rebounds per game (10.1), assists per game (1.7) and steals per game (1.5).

His performances - and popularity - have landed him in sixth place in the Western Conference All-Star fan voting for frontcourt players, with 1,034,014 votes.

That's still over 500,000 votes behind the fifth-placed Anthony Davis, with All-Star starters selected via a process which incorporates 50 per cent of the fan vote, and 25 per cent apiece from players and media.


But while being selected as a starter is highly unlikely, Adams is a chance to make the Western Conference All-Star team, with coaches selecting the reserves.

However, the 25-year-old would have no qualms about missing out, telling ESPN that he would quite enjoy being able to take a break during the All-Star festivities.

"I do like my All-Star break mate - it's a tough season," Adams said.

"I think a lot of people would like to see me there - it'll be really big for New Zealand in that aspect.

"But if I'm being selfish mate, yeah I'd probably like a wee break."

With plenty of media and sponsorship duties to perform during the All-Star week, it can be tiring for some players, and seven-time All Star Scottie Pippen understood where Adams was coming from.

"For some guys it's an excitement to be an All-Star but for this guy, it's probably not as exciting. It sounds like he wants his country to get a little bit of credit, but you know, sometimes going through the season, when you're playing a lot of minutes, you're carrying a load - that break is important for you, and you never know about players, whether they're dealing with nagging injuries.

"So if you can get that week off and just recover, sometimes it's much more important for the long haul of the season," Pippen said on ESPN's The Jump.


NBA analyst Amin Elhassan concurred, calling Adams 'a different dude'.

"There's a lot of duties you have to do when you're out there, and that can be tiring, especially for a guy [like Adams]. That's a blue-collar dude there, there's not a lot of easy minutes for Steven Adams on a night-to-night basis."

All-Star voting concludes on January 21.