Steven Adams returns home to Wellington
Hungry for pies and a NBA championship, Steven Adams has touched down in Wellington.
The 20-year-old is back in New Zealand for a brief holiday, but the pain of Oklahoma City's season-ending loss to San Antonio last Sunday is still raw.
"I haven't accomplished anything man," Adams said at Wellington Airport today.
"I set out a goal to get a championship and didn't get it, so fell short. There's nothing really to be proud of."
Wellwishers at the airport, including retired Tall Blacks legend Phill Jones, seemed to think differently.
Adams was named in the NBA's All-Rookie second team after establishing himself on the Thunder's star-studded roster.
He reiterated that the call not to play for New Zealand at the August-September World Cup in Spain was largely out of his hands as the Thunder plot off-season improvement for their centre of the future.
"I released a statement saying 'no' and it doesn't take me out of the future," he said.
"It's just this year and it ain't like it was a quick decision. It was a well-thought-out decision, and I was trying to play for the Tall Blacks, but OKC had commitments and all that sort of stuff. So yeah, it was well thought out throughout the whole year and it just came to that."
There is a strong possibility that Adams could unseat veteran Kendrick Perkins as the Thunder's starting centre next season.
Said coach Scott Brooks: "That remains to be seen . . . Steven has definitely improved as the season has gone on, but he's another guy that we're going to continue to challenge and work. We have four months before the next season starts. We expect all of our guys to come back better in four months."
Adams returned home with mentor Kenny McFadden, but is unsure how long his Kiwi holiday will be.
The Thunder have yet to inform him when he is required back for training in Oklahoma City, but he plans to enjoy his brief break.
"Yeah, they gave me time off, so I've got to get my rest ... just helping out coaching with the kids, going back to the academy that Kenny Mac started up and give back to the children."
And maybe a pie? "Oh yeah, always. I've always got time for pies man."
Despite the long flight, Adams was sharp enough to deflect a question about his preference between Wellington and Oklahoma City.
"I can't say that bro; you're setting me up."