Kiwi NBA star Steven Adams has labelled himself a "dead weight" in an off-the-cuff but brutally honest review of his first season with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Adams – who was traded by the Thunder to the Pelicans during the off-season – wasn't able to help his side towards a post-season run, with New Orleans finishing on 31-41 and missing out on the NBA's new play-in tournament for the playoffs by two games.
The 27-year-old also struggled personally, playing a career-low 58 games and averaging 7.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists with a field goal percentage of 61.4.
It was a notable decline from his final season with the Thunder where Adams averaged 10.9 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting 59.2 per cent from the floor.
The drop in numbers could be partly down to injury struggles he faced during the season, which saw the rise of young players Jaxson Hayes and Willy Hernangomez who stepped in at centre and showed improvements throughout the season.
When asked about their development this season, Adams praised the pair but also added a light-hearted but brutal review on himself.
"They were amazing, dude," Adams said in his end-of-season interview with NBA media.
"It turns out I was just dead weight – these dudes are amazing," the typically self-deprecating Adams added with a smile.
Adams, who signed on to a two-year $48 million extension on his previous deal with the Thunder, was likely part of the Pelicans' push towards becoming a playoffs contender – along with securing superstars Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram for the next two seasons.
However, that investment hasn't turned into the expected solid numbers from Adams, and in Stan Van Gundy's review of his centre, the Pelicans coach spoke about everything but the Kiwi big man's on-court performances.
"Steven's a guy who cares very much about his teammates and is always talking to them, and particularly those two guys [Hayes and Hernangomez]," Van Gundy said.
"It's every practice, before and after, they're talking about something.
"I just think him constantly thinking about the game and talking about the game was tremendously beneficial to those guys. And then he's one of the most supportive teammates I've ever been around … He was a great source of confidence for both of them."
Adams seems to have embraced the role of mentor.
"I've always talked quite a lot … [not] so much the big speech: 'Hey everyone, calm down and listen to what I have to say.' It's more one-on-one type stuff with Billy and Jax, trying to help them the best I can," Adams said.
"Just words, mate, make it up, claim it if they do anything good, deny it if they do anything bad. You know how it goes."
Hernangomez also paid tribute to Adams' leadership, as well as his presence on the court.
"Since my rookie year I always want to be like Steven Adams, a guy who knows his role, a beast on the boards and in the game … Everyone is scared to play against him as he's one of the strongest guys in the league.
"I would put him as one of my top three teammates ever, and I would say teachers too. The way he dedicated his time to teach me and Jaxson all season is something — you know we appreciate that.
"You don't have many teammates in your career like that."