Alex Abrines exit interview: taking the next step

Alex Abrines OKC Thunder l (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
Alex Abrines OKC Thunder l (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /

For Alex Abrines his exit interview pointed to a summer of dedicated work to build upon his improving defense and adding offensive versatility.

Much of the end of season exit interview for Alex Abrines focused on areas he improved this season and views to growth. At the time of the interview Thunder fans were unaware he was about to have surgery to repair a sports hernia.

As I noted in that article a sports hernia occurs more often than you would imagine in basketball. This because the very nature of basketball requires players to shift their balance and move laterally.

Ironically, the Spaniard displayed some of his best defense in the playoffs which means he was probably playing through constant pain. A sports hernia is generally located in the groin area in the soft tissue. Having undergone the surgery Abrines will now take time to heal over the next six weeks prior to getting back to offseason work.

In the interim he’ll wed his fiancee in Spain (Mallorca) some time this summer. Although we aren’t sure of the actual date it would make sense the celebration would occur in the next six weeks while he is nursing back to health.

2017-18 Improvements:

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Abrines was extremely proud of the advancements he made defensively. Recalling a post practice video, coach Billy Donovan stated Abrines would need to make strides on that area of the court to get more minutes.

The wing man took his coach to heart and did precisely that. Often in the first round series versus the Utah Jazz it was Abrines defense on Donovan Mitchell which caused the rookie his greatest problems.

If the Spaniard can continue to harness this area of his game his length could become a true factor.

Areas to work on:

Abrines cited defense, but also noted the need to expand his offensive tool box. Versatility will be a key area for Alex to work on as teams respect him as a perimeter sniper. Adding in drives and dribble penetration will only serve to make him a much more lethal weapon for the OKC Thunder.

Additionally, Abrines noted he’ll need to work on his handles. If Abrines can become a player who can create for himself and others his stock raises exponentially.

Based on how quickly the defensive strides were made, Abrines noted he is committed to continue this progress. More than anything Abrines improving defensively is the one factor which could make him a key contributor. Offensively adding versatility is also important. This because the reserves have struggled to score for years. If Abrines improves even in small ways offensively this would truly be a palpable factor. The past two seasons neither Victor Oladipo or Paul George were able to succeed with an bench unit.

If Alex Abrines can become a passable defender and secondary scoring option it would be huge for the OKC Thunder.