Steven Adams opened up about the competitive nature of his OKC days with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant on JJ Reddick’s podcast.
The OKC Thunder were arguably the NBA’s most dangerous playoff team in 2015-16. The manner in which they battered the Warriors in the paint through 4 games of their Conference Finals was a testament to this.
All of this was achieved through the intensity and competitive nature of their practice sessions:
“It was awesome for me. Russ, KD, Serge, and Perk, they were all going at it. They would argue like crazy. And that created a really competitive environment, there wouldn’t be a practice that would be soft. It was always intense.”
“All of them were trying to beat the other one. It wouldn’t be fair for me to say who was alpha-leader, but it’s fair to say that it was a healthy team, if that makes sense. For some people that might not be healthy but they’ve got to the point right away. They were constantly making each other better.”
Steven Adams believes the ultra-competitive nature of their practices wasn’t very popular
The 6-foot-11 Kiwi revealed that, because of the competitive environment, not everybody was happy with the team’s happenings. He also said:
“Some players don’t respond well to that, they’re not upfront people. So when someone’s not showing their emotion and haven’t got an opinion about anything, then you really don’t know that guy. You don’t know how he reacts, you don’t know what is going to happen. You’re just waiting for him somewhere through the season to lose his mind, and then you know, he has like a couple of loose screws in there.”
Sadly for the Thunder organization, the acquisition of big stars over the years like Paul George, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony, didn’t translate into any success. The team now focuses on rebuilding around their young 22-year-old leader, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
This past offseason, Steven Adams was acquired by the New Orleans Pelicans as their starting center. He’s averaging 8.3 points and 9.2 rebounds on an underperforming Pelicans team.