Standing tall at 7-feet and weighing in at a muscly 255 pounds, the Thunder’s Steven Adams is one of the most physical and fearsome players in the entire league. On top of his physical stature, Adams’ sinister mustache only adds to his whole menacing demeanor.
Living up to his appearance, Adams plays with reckless abandon, using his physical attributes to snare rebounds, finish at the rim with emphatic dunks and stop opponents from scoring by any means possible. The way Adams plays defense often rubs opponents the wrong way, which is why the Thunder big man receives a fair amount of elbows, pushes, shoves and even the occasional swift kick in the nuts.
Adams never complains about the dirty play directed his way. Instead, he channels the hits he receives into a rather unorthodox way of training.
According to the Norman Transcript’s Fred Katz, Adams practices free-throws by having a Thunder assistant coach randomly surprise him with an upper-cut in the stomach. Adams practices free-throws like this to simulate an actual game setting.
He plays one of the most physical styles of any NBA player. And he owns an unmatched, eccentric personality. So, when he’s working from the charity stripe, he has Thunder assistant coach Darko Rajaković come out of nowhere and, every once in a while, upper-cut him in the stomach just when he least expects it.
While this sound somewhat like a dangerous way to train, if it is working for Adams (he did improve his free-throw shooting percentage from 58.2 percent to 61.1 percent last season), why knock it? Plus, if you have ever doubted Adams’ toughness, doubt no more.
There is clearly a method to Adams’ madness, and at the very least, you have to salute the Thunder big man for going outside the box to improve his game. Failure to do so could result in getting on Adams’ bad side, which given his history and how he trains, is not where you want to be.