The Oklahoma City Thunder has signed sharpshooter Alex Abrines, formerly of Barcelona, to a 3-year deal for $18 million, per reports. Abrines' contract with the Euroleague team included a $2.2 million buyout, $650,000 of which can be paid by the Thunder.
Abrines was drafted by Oklahoma City in 2013 with the 32nd pick. This pick was acquired as part of the James Harden trade with Houston.
Alex Abrines was the winner of the Euroleague Rising Star award last season, given to the best player under 22 years of age. He averaged 9.2 points per game, shooting 42% from behind the 3 point arc. While the European 3 point line is shorter than the NBA arc, his shooting ability should translate, allowing him to have an immediate impact on a Thunder team left severely lacking efficient scorers following the departure of Kevin Durant.
From the videos available, Abrines appears to play similarly to J.J. Redick of the Los Angeles Clippers. He moves well without the ball and is comfortable shooting on the move. He especially seems to thrive off of curls around screens, particularly above the break. He is also an excellent catch-and-shoot player, which will help provide spacing for guys like Russell Westbrook and Victor Oladipo.
Alex Abrines is a smooth shooter on the move. Clearly comfortable wrapping off screens, catching and firing pic.twitter.com/g7hv2J0SxN— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) July 18, 2016
Defensively, it's likely that the NBA game will give the small-framed Abrines issues, at least at first. He isn't an explosive athlete; he can best be described as smooth. He won't ever wow you with his athleticism, but is deceptively fast, and has even been known to throw down some dunks (albeit soft ones). He even has a Eurostep move that has proven effective at times inside the paint.
According to the Oklahoman's Anthony Slater, Abrines may have a clear path to playing time:
But Abrines has proven himself as a solid player in the Euroleague, which is considered by most to be the best non-NBA professional league. Last season, he won the Rising Star trophy, given annually to the best under-22 player. The award has a rich history. Past winners include future NBA contributors Danilo Galinari, Ricky Rubio and Nikola Mirotic.
Earlier this summer, sources indicated that it was unlikely Abrines made the jump. But things have changed for both sides. With Durant gone and Dion Waiters' situation still in flux, the Thunder had a need on the wing, while Abrines suddenly had a path to what seems like immediate playing time.
Here are some highlights that show Abrines' game, and likely what OKC fans can expect from him here:
With this signing, it appears likely that Dion Waiters' time with the Thunder is coming to an end. Right now, OKC has 14 roster spots filled, and is more in need of a capable forward than of another guard. However, it wouldn't be surprising if Sam Presti isn't finished in the trading market, so more roster fluctuation is still possible.