DID SAM PRESTI HIT A HOME RUN WITH ABRINES OR JUST A FOUL BALL?
UPDATE: ABRINES HAS INKED A THREE YEAR CONTRACT WITH OKC FOR JUST A NUDGE MORE THAN $17,000,000 TOTAL.
Alex Abrines, a second round draft choice (32nd pick in the 2013 NBA draft) of the Oklahoma City Thunder is reported to be close in signing a three year deal with the club at a smudge over $17 million total. The “rising star” of FC Barcelona Lassa of the Spanish ACB League stands 6′ 6 and is slated to be a shooting guard/small forward in the Association. Euroleague head coaches voted Abrines as the Euroleague Rising Star Trophy winner for the 2015-16 season. The Rising Star Trophy recognizes the best Euroleague player who was under age 22 on July 1 of the summer before the season started. It seems Oklahoma City’s pick in 2013 might be paying off with the departure of Kevin Durant and the uncertainty of NBA superstar Russell Westbrook. Bringing this young gun to OKC gives Head Coach Billy Donavan and GM Sam Presti another option in a possible re-build on Reno Street.
From Euroleague.net: Despite undergoing surgery for acute appendicitis in February and missing a month of the Top 16, Abrines stood out this season as Barcelona’s sixth man. He tied for the team lead with 40 three-pointers made and was third in both scoring (9.3 ppg.) and performance index rating (8.8 per game), even though he was just sixth in minutes played. His often electric appearances at big moments gave a veteran team his youthful energy and impressed Euroleague head coaches enough that they voted him the best young player in the competition!
From the time Abrines arrived to Barcelona in 2012 as a teenager, coaches, teammates, opponents and fans have watched closely as he blossomed as a player. The expectations were always high, since Abrines came from Unicaja Malaga in a trade for the Euroleague’s all-time leader in blocked shots, Fran Vazquez. In each season, Abrines provided glimpses of his talent with a handful of standout performances, but injuries sometimes slowed him and opportunities could be scarce with the likes of scoring king Juan Carlos Navarro, Pete Mickeal, Brad Oleson, Boki Nachbar and Kostas Papanikolaou ahead of him in the rotation. This season, however, Abrines took advantage of his playing time and carved out an important role off the bench.
Abrines paced Barcelona with 16 points on 4-of-5 three-point shooting in a road win at Stelmet Zielona Gora in Round 7 of the regular season. The following week he poured in 21 points in Athens against Panathinaikos. Abrines twice made 4 of 5 triples in the Top 16, against Final Four qualifiers CSKA Moscow and Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz. In between those games, he was sidelined for a month due to his appendix surgery, but hardly skipped a beat when he returned. Come the playoffs, Abrines almost singlehandedly won Game 3 for Barcelona against Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar with a career-high 25 points on 6-of-10 three-point shooting. Although Barcelona fell to Lokomotiv in a grueling five-game series, it was not without a supreme effort from Abrines. He led the team with 12 threes in the series, his 11.8 points per game in the playoffs were second for Barcelona, behind only Navarro, and he tied for third on the squad with 3.4 rebounds. With such important contributions as a 22-year-old, there is little doubt that stardom awaits in the coming years for Abrines.