When former Thunder fan favorites will be back in OKC

Russell Westbrook of the OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook of the OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Steven Adams #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Steven Adams

Steven Adams played the first seven seasons of his career in OKC, spending all but his rookie season as the Thunder’s starting center. Adams may have the claim of all-time favorite role player among Thunder fans.

Adams will return to Paycom Center with the Memphis Grizzlies on Dec. 18 and March 10. He should be ready to go by the start of training camp after missing the final 36 games of the regular season and the Grizzlies’ first-round series.

Adams is known for his hard screens and rebounding especially his offensive rebounding. The Kiwi has led the NBA in offensive rebounds per game in his last two seasons with Memphis.

Adams was a vital part of the Thunder’s success in the 2010s. He helped the Thunder reach the playoffs in six of his seven seasons, including two conference finals appearances. In the 2019-20 season, Adams’s last with the Thunder, he started alongside current Thunder guards Gilgeous-Alexander and Dort in the team’s playoff run.

There is a slight chance that Grizzlies’ all-star guard Ja Morant could also make his season debut on Dec. 18. The Grizzlies are scheduled to play 24 games of Morant’s 25-game suspension before heading to OKC, but a trip to the In-Season Tournament final would count toward his suspension.

So, like many years in OKC, Adams may play alongside his athletic counterpart in the backcourt.