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Remembering Alex Abrines’ short but memorable career with OKC

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Adios to one of the most beloved role players the Thunder have ever known.

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NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Just before Saturday’s game with the Rockets, the Thunder waived Alex Abrines (or Slex, as the initial Shams tweet named him), after he missed huge chunks of the season for “personal reasons.” What those reasons are is a matter for no one but Abrines and the team to know. Whatever they were — and we won’t speculate here — it was enough for both Abrines and the team to decide it was no longer in his best interests to keep playing with the team.

That’s a shame- Abrines was never an all-star or a huge difference maker, but he was a solid rotation player during his 3 year career for a Thunder team that was often desperately starved of depth. Beyond his on court contributions, Abrines attitude and incredible beard made him a team- and fan-favorite during his short run with the team.

His career stats:

Some highlights from Abrines’ brief but glorious career with OKC:

The Beard Celebration

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Oklahoma City Thunder Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

During Abrines’ rookie season, Anthony Morrow created the celebration that became Abrines signature: the beard rub. You can see Morrow doing it on the bench as Abrines lights up the Clippers in this game from his rookie season:

It became Abrines go to after made 3 pointers throughout his Thunder career

Posterizing Jordan Bell

Abrines was normally a 3 point specialist, but in a late season game against the Warriors in 2018, Abrines had a chance to show the world, and specifically Jordan Bell, that he was capable of the occasional Westbrook-esque poster slam:

68 Points

Earlier this season, before Abrines’s departure, the Thunder pulled off a memorable win in Brooklyn, with Paul George hitting a buzzer beater 3 to steal the win on the road. George finished with 47 total points, and Russell Westbrook added 21. Abrines decided to share in the glory by declaring he and the superstar duo had “combined” for 68 points.

The Comeback

Abrines was on the floor for a huge chunk of OKC’s monster 25 point comeback against Utah in game 5 of their first round series of the 2018 playoffs. While Abrines was quiet on the offensive end, only scoring 3 points in the game, he played some shockingly good defense against Donovan Mitchell, who had killed the Thunder for most of the series. The comeback was mostly about some incredible shot making from Westbrook and George, but we shouldn’t forget Abrines small but vital role in it:

All the 3’s

And of course, what we’ll most remember from Abrines career: That sweet shooting stroke, that helped give a little 3 point firepower to Thunder teams that were totally devoid of spacing for much of his tenure, particularly during his rookie season:

We can only hope that Abrines is able to get through whatever his current challenges are. If his future does include a return to an NBA court one day, all the better. If not, though, he’ll always have a spot in Thunder fan’s hearts for the small but vital role he played in the 2016-17 triple double campaign and the 2017-18 season that brought Paul George to OKC.

Stay Gold, Senor Abrines.


Are you disappointed Abrines has left the Thunder?

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    Yes - his shooting and presence will be greatly missed
    (574 votes)
  • 22%
    No - Aside from shooting, he didn’t bring enough to the table
    (172 votes)
  • 1%
    Other - write in below
    (13 votes)
759 votes total Vote Now