A few days ago, Billy Donovan and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander sat down with members of the media and answered questions. The Thunder made Steven Adams available to the media yesterday and Adams provided a few interesting thoughts. The conference call covered the coronavirus, New Zealand and the league’s return to play on July 30th.
Prior to today's media call with Steven Adams (ongoing), a Thunder spokesman confirmed that no Thunder players have tested positive for COVID-19 since returning to the team.— Erik Horne (@ErikkHorne) July 2, 2020
There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks about the coronavirus and players who have been infected. Nikola Jokic and Spencer Dinwiddie are two notable names who have tested positive for COVID. At present, the league is conducting rigorous COVID testing on the players as teams prepare for Orlando.
It is a relief to hear that all Thunder players have tested negative for the coronavirus. COVID is a deadly virus that has long lasting effects on those who have been affected. I am happy to hear that all Thunder players are safe and healthy.
During the quarantine, Steven Adams was back on the farm in New Zealand doing farm work: “I had a little bit of a farmer’s tan. The cows are doing good.”— Erik Horne (@ErikkHorne) July 2, 2020
After the season stopped on March 11, there was a lot of uncertainty. It was difficult to make an accurate prediction on when basketball would come back. A lot of players chose to return to their home so that they could be around friends and family during the lockdown period.
Steven Adams was no different. Steven Adams headed home to New Zealand. The Big Kiwi had time to decompress and get away from basketball. Adams spent a lot of time tending to his cows and working on the farm. While Adams has played some pickup basketball at home, you get the sense that he has really enjoyed being around his friends and family.
A lot of international basketball players rarely get the opportunity to see their families during the season. The NBA season starts with training camps in September. Steven Adams has only missed the playoffs once during his tenure in Oklahoma City. This means Adams usually spends around nine months away from his family in New Zealand.
Three months is not a lot of time to catch up with family and friends back home especially when off-court commitments are factored into the equation. This break will be hugely beneficial for Adams’ mental space.
This quote also feels like peak Steven Adams. I cannot imagine any other player in the league talking about doing farm work during the season stoppage. It is one of the reasons why Adams is loved by Thunder fans. Steve is pretty unique when compared to most NBA players.
Adams on how New Zealand has handled COVID-19: "There were strict rules right away (back in March). For the most part, New Zealanders are generally quite compliant with following the rules."— Brady Trantham (@BradyDoesSports) July 2, 2020
Steven Adams made a wise decision by returning home to New Zealand. New Zealand have been excellent at identifying the spread of coronavirus and moving quickly to deal with the threat presented by COVID. New Zealand has only had 1,180 total cases of COVID. There have been 22 deaths from the coronavirus.
The lack of cases and the country's strict measures meant that Adams was in a low-risk area of the world. There was very little chance of Adams contracting the virus as there were few carriers of COVID.
Steven Adams on chemistry: “I’m betting on our team.”— Brandon Rahbar (@BrandonRahbar) July 2, 2020
The question of chemistry arose again and Adams’ response was a little different to the answers given by Billy Donovan. Donovan’s answer was more cautious and slightly more reserved. Steven Adams seemed more bullish about the Thunder’s chemistry.
There has been a lot of discussion about the Thunder’s chemistry in recent weeks. Media members and fans alike want to know whether Oklahoma City can continue playing basketball in the same way that they did before the hiatus.
Adams’ bullishness is not misplaced in this situation. The Thunder’s chemistry was forged by clutch wins and gruelling road trips in the winter months. The trust and understanding built by these experiences is not easily forgotten. I think the Thunder will play winning basketball in Orlando.