For three consecutive seasons, Alex Abrines has been shooting lights out for Barcelona FC in the Euroleague, winning the tournament’s Rising Star award last year.
Albrines, 22, is ready to take the leap to the NBA after the Oklahoma City Thunder signed the sharpshooting guard to a three-year $18 million contract on Monday, per league sources.
The Thunder owned the rights to signing Albrines after drafting the Spaniard with the No. 32 pick in the 2013 NBA draft. At the time, Albrines was a teenage sensation but not perceived as NBA-ready.
Alex Abrines set Europe on fire….
It seems like Thunder’s investment is about to pay off as Albrines was one of the best players in Europe last year, edging out Philadelphia 76ers Dario Saric as the rising star winner in 2015-16. Albrines joined an elite company of fellow Europeans Ricky Rubio, Danilo Gallinari and Nikola Mirotic, who all shone in the Euroleague before becoming legitimate NBA stars.
According to ESPN’s Royce Young, Kevin Durant’s exit was the primary reason for Thunder calling on Albrines. “Without Durant, the Thunder are in desperate need of perimeter shooting, and Abrines is known primarily as a marksman – he hit 41.7 percent from 3 last season for Barcelona – but has a well-rounded offensive skill set and sneaky athleticism,” wrote Young.
The Thunder still have to make a decision on Dion Waiters, a restricted free agent. Waiters primarily came off the bench last season for 9.8 points and 2.6 rebounds.
With the recent acquisition of Victor Oladipo as part of the Serge Ibaka trade, the Thunder have a strong backcourt which features Russell Westbrook, Oladipo, Andre Roberson, Cameron Payne and now Albrines. Therefore, OKC could be forced to let Waiters test free agency.
Thunder fans can keep a close eye on Alex Abrines, who will compete for Spain in next month’s Olympic Games in Rio.