OKC Thunder lottery pick Steven Adams increases NBA’s New Zealand presence



New Zealand and the NBA isn’t something you hear very often. All this week, you heard CBS/NBA TV’s Seth Davis repeating the same talking point: he doesn’t believe New Zealand is a basketball culture. I’m not sure I buy that.

You’ve had Kirk Penney, the former Wisconsin Badgers guard from Auckland, New Zealand. Penney didn’t even last two years in the league. Sean Marks is also from Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest metropolis. He’s from Rangitoto School in Auckland and played his college basketball at Cal.

Marks was taken in the 1998 NBA Draft, Round 2 by the New York Knicks. He stuck around for awhile, but his numbers were rather meager. He hardly produced very much.

Steven Adams is a 7 foot freshman who was the 12th pick overall in NBA Draft Thursday night by the Oklahoma City Thunder. He really impressed at the NBA Draft combine; everyone seems to love his personality.

Adams did his prep ball at Scots College (Wellington, New Zealand) In 2011, Adams played basketball for the Wellington Saints in the New Zealand NBL.He subsequently won the Rookie of the Year award. Adams would leave New Zealand in January 2012 in order to enroll for the Notre Dame Preparatory School.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Ray Fittipaldo described Adams in 2012 as “a free spirit who, in his words, ‘doesn’t care much’.”

So literally:



like Jay Cutler.


Steven Adams is raw, he’s a project pick. He needs to add weight, and work on his frame. And that’s fine because the Thunder had a luxury with this pick. Whoever they took, regardless of position, wasn’t going to play right away anyway. No one was going to step in and get major minutes. Not in this draft class. This class was all about big men project picks that need to gain weight. I saw Adams dominate the few minutes he played when he came to Chicago, Rosemont actually. He was quite productive versus the DePaul Blue Demons, even though he wasn’t 100 percent healthy.

DePaul coach Oliver Purnell described Steven Adams thusly:

“He’s a force, tremendous size, he takes up space,” Purnell said.

“He defends the post, and swallows up what you do in the post. He has a chance to be playing basketball a very long time. He doesn’t have a lot of experience and doesn’t know what he’s doing. But he’s really good at defending the post, and being physical.”

A big time Kiwi post defender:

like the national anthem says “God Defend New Zealand.”

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net. (“Quasi-endorsed” by Philadelphia Eagles Coach Chip Kelly) He’s also an author who also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter Football.com and Yardbarker

Banks has appeared on the History Channel, as well as Clear Channel, ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. The NFL and NBA expert does a weekly spot for 95.7 The Fan. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks), like him on Facebook


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