It’s been different type of ride for Alex Abrines. After spending years in Europe, playing for a Spanish club, he finally made his way across the pond after being drafted by the Thunder. This season, his official rookie year, he’s had ups and downs but overall, the Spaniard has benefited during his time in Oklahoma City.
“It took me two to three weeks to understand how they play here,” Abrines said.
With that, his playing time fluctuated, too. He played only 24 total minutes his first four games with the Thunder. However, his sharp shooting ability finally shined through and Thunder head coach Billy Donovan has really been forced to play Abrines more than maybe he was comfortable with due to his defense. His three-point sharp shooting ability has pushed him into a rotational player.
“I thought I did a great job,” Abrines said.
Only 23, Abrines often spends his summer with the Spanish national team, but will spend this summer training in Oklahoma City with the Thunder staff, instead of traveling to Orlando to play in the Summer league with the other young players on the team.
“I get a couple of months to work, that’s never happened,” Abrines said.
Abrines struggled as a defender this year, often outmatched or unable to keep up with a faster two-guard, Abrines has his summer cut out for him. His defensive rating of 110 leaves a lot to be desired. Expect Abrines to hop into the weight room and try to not be so out-muscled as much next season.
“I know I’m still not the best defender,” Abrines said. “I’ll keep trying to be the best defender I can.”
Abrines averaged 6.0 points on 38.1 percent from three-point range. He averaged 1.4 threes made on 3.6 attempts. The playoffs weren’t nearly as kind to Abrines as he only shot 29.4 percent from three, averaging 4.8 points.
“I know I can help put the ball on the floor and get penetration,” Abrines said. “I know I can do more things than being just a shooter.”
That’s what you want to hear from a young pup who’s still getting his NBA leagues underneath him. Listening to Abrines, you can just hear the hunger to improve for next season.
“I’m really happy to be here,” Abrines said. “I can’t wait to move forward to next season.”We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!