It seems trade talk and criticism after the Oklahoma City Thunder's first round exit from the NBA playoffs hasn't affected Steven Adams' sense of humour.

Speaking to local media during his exit interview, Adams took the opportunity to provide some comedic relief after another disappointing end to the season.

Adams is often seen discussing plays with coaches then relaying any messages to his teammates. When asked about that leadership aspect of his game, Adams responded in classic form.

"I'm the only one (who does it). I'm a genius," he joked. "Everybody does it; it really depends on if you guys are looking for it."

Advertisement

A massive part of the Thunder's system for the past few season, the Kiwi centre came into the firing line from many during the side's 4-1 first-round series loss as the Portland Trail Blazers' depth of shooters lit up the Oklahoma side.

Many criticised his defensive impact on the series as Portland sought to draw the big man out to guard shooters on the perimeter, despite Adams posting some of the better defensive statistics of the Thunder's starters.

Being drawn out to the perimeter is becoming a more and more common occurrence for the NBA's big men as the league shifts more and more toward launching three-point shots whenever possible.

"It's not easy, that's just the way it is," Adams said.

"With our defence, I've done it since rookie season, but it'll be a bit more so now because everyone's just hunting for threes. You don't see many point guards who are straight downhill. I'm doing more reps, and I guess the workload is tougher, but the strategy remains the same."

The criticism Adams has received stems largely from the numbers that show up in the box score as fans of the Thunder have looked to pin the blame somewhere after their third straight first-round exit.

Adams held opponents to shooting at a lower mark than their average during the playoffs, including limiting the efficiency of perimeter threats CJ McCollum, Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu.

As rebounding and defending are largely what he's paid for, Adams said it was important for him to stick to his roles regardless of what the opponent tries to throw at him.

Advertisement

During the regular season, Adams posted career high numbers in points, rebounds, assists and steals, as well as shot attempts per game.

However, offensively Adams averaged just 11 points on eight shots per game at a 66 per cent hit rate. When asked about whether or not he goes looking for shots, Adams said he was all about doing what's best for the team.

"It's still my role to do what I'm doing, if that makes sense. Mid-range and three pointers aren't in that. I mean, I could develop it, but that's just for individual gain. For the team, you still just have to focus on what your role is and try lock down on those things.

"I like to just have a successful play; that's the bottom line. Sometimes it is me scoring, but a lot of the time it's kicking it out to whoever – guards cutting or whatever – that's all I'm trying to push myself to do; what is the right play rather than I need to score this ball.

"I don't think it's a confidence thing, it's more just my obsession with trying to get a successful play for that possession."