31 Oct 2014

Adams and OKC lose opener

11:50 am on 31 October 2014

An inauspicious start to Steven Adams' career as the starting centre for Oklahoma City, with the Rotorua big and the Thunder going down 106-89 on the road to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Oklahoma City named Adams their starting centre for the new season, after he beat out league veteran Kendrick Perkins.

The Thunder have been starting Perkins over the last few years but many believe that with his limited offence, declining defence and the presence of a big-time defensive player in Serge Ibaka next to him, the Thunder should find an upgrade at centre.

Steven Adams in action for OKC

Steven Adams in action for OKC Photo: PHOTOSPORT

And they did just that.

Coach Scott Brooks and the Thunder officially named the second-year pro Adams to start alongside Russell Westbrook, Andre Roberson, Perry Jones and Serge Ibaka, following a breakout rookie season where the 21-year-old exceeded all expectations, and an impressive pre-season.

Adams showed flashes of his potential as a star of the future last season and excelled in the playoffs as the Thunder reached the Western Conference Finals.

He's one of the most foul-prone players in the league, committing six fouls per 36 minutes played in his rookie season and says with a short-handed squad he'll have to try hard to stay out of trouble with the referees.

Adams says it's hard to find the balance between playing physical and not fouling, but says he'll be looking to the referees for guidance on what he can and can't do.

The Thunder enter the season as one of the contenders in the NBA's Western Conference, but have been rocked by a foot injury to last season's MVP Kevin Durant.

The situation's been exacerbated by injuries to sharp shooter Anthony Morrow, rookie big man Mitch McGary, young guards Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb and the forward Grant Jerrett.

As a rookie last season, Adams averaged 3.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in just 14.8 minutes per game while shooting 50.3 percent from the floor and 58.1 percent from the free throw line.