Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Abrines showed why the Thunder were able to take their time on a young kid from Spain. While he’s only 24, Abrines is still trying to find his role within the organization despite his name coming up numerous times last week during trade rumors.

It starts with rhythm. Abrines showed last night that was absolutely the case as he scored 16 points in the first half, on 4-of-4 shooting from three-point range.

“I think it’s [starting] is way easier,” Abrines said.

When Abrines starts for the Thunder, he’s averaging 11.2 points, compared to 4.2 points per game off the bench. He’s also shooting 53.1 percent from three-point range, compared to 34.5 percent from the bench. However, the Thunder are plus-1.5 with Abrines off the bench as to negative-6.5 with him starting.

“Usually with PG, Russ, Melo or even Steven, you don’t miss the flow,” Abrines said. “It’s easy to get shots and make those and it’s easier to get confidence.”

Abrines numbers have slightly elevated compared to last season. However, his impact and importance is magnified when the Thunder have a rookie in Terrance Ferguson under-performing and Andre Roberson out for the season with a ruptured tendon.

Confidence is key for Abrines. Get the guy good looks. Throughout

“All shooters are the same I think,” Abrines said. “If I get 10 threes a game, I’ll take it.”

Abrines took made six buckets against Memphis and Oklahoma City won big. It’s not a coincidence. Oklahoma City is 14-4 when Abrines makes four or more shots.

Space and rhythm for Abrines and the Thunder, that’s the key to success for the remainder of the season.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.