Pelicans newcomer Steven Adams returned to his old stomping grounds in OKC Thursday night, playing at Chesapeake Energy Arena for the first time as a visitor. The 6’11” center spent his first seven NBA seasons with the Thunder before his trade to New Orleans, a casualty of Oklahoma City’s ongoing rebuild. Adams admitted it was strange, especially without fans, returning to the gym he called home for so many years.
“It kind of messed me up a little bit when I tipped the ball because I’m so used to seeing the OKC colors,” remarked Adams, describing his confusion on the opening tip. “Something in my brain switched like, ‘Oh s—t. That’s right, I’m playing for New Orleans. It was a funny moment.”
Seeing your ex for the first time is always an odd experience, though Adams didn’t seem particularly fazed by it, netting a season-high 14 points on efficient 7-of-13 shooting in a lopsided 113-80 win over the team that drafted him 12th overall in 2013. The New Zealand native also made his presence felt on the glass, securing 10 boards for his 113th career double-double and first as a Pelican.
With an overhauled roster and a new coaching staff, Adams wasn’t greeted by many familiar faces upon his return to the Sooner State. The 27-year-old won’t have to wait very long to see his former employer again with OKC visiting the Big Easy next week.