VIDEO: Steven Adams off to Oklahoma City Thunder, 12th round pick, NBA draft 2013

  • 27/06/2013

Rotorua-born Steven Adams put his New  Zealand background to forefront after being a first-round pick at  the NBA draft in New York.

The 19-year-old was selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder as the 12th choice in the televised event involving the competition's 30 teams.

  • Born: Rotorua
  • Age: 19
  • Height: 2.13m
  • Position: Centre
  • Wingspan: 2.24m
  • Standing reach: 2.78m
  • Hand length: 24cm
  • Maximum leap: 84cm
  • College: University of Pittsburgh
  • Drafted by: Oklahoma City Thunder as 12th pick
  • Half-sister: Olympic and world shot put champion Valerie Adams

As he was interviewed immediately afterwards, the interviewer noted that Adams was wearing a New Zealand flag inside his shirt and asked what message he wanted to send home.

"Just thank you for all the support, guys," he said.

"I'm pretty much doing it as a Kiwi - always."

The 2.13-metre centre, a University of Pittsburgh freshman, also said it "feels amazing" to be heading to Oklahoma City, who have the likes of point guard Russell Westbrook and forward Kevin Durant on their roster.

He said it was team that his family backs, "so I'm pretty happy I ended up going to OKC".

Durant tweeted: "Welcome Steven Adams".

The Thunder made the finals two years ago, but with Westbrook injured, made an early exit from the play-offs this year.

A half-brother of double Olympic shot-put champion Valerie Adams, Adams is now set to become the third New Zealander to play in the NBA, after Sean Marks and Kirk Penney.

He is also about to become an instant millionaire, earning about $US1.74 million ($NZ2.2m) in his first year.

In his one season with the University of Pittsburgh, his statistics - averaging 23 minutes, 7.2 points, six rebounds, two blocks and a poor 44 per cent from the free throw line - were ordinary.

But what NBA clubs saw in him were his physical attributes and potential.

The draft is staged over two rounds, with 60 players selected.

The Cleveland Cavaliers caused a stir, choosing University of Las Vegas forward Anthony Bennett with the No.1 pick. Nerlens Noel, a centre from the University of Kentucky recovering from a knee injury, was the expected the top pick, but  he was snubbed until New Orleans selected him at No.6.

NZN

source: newshub archive