Alex Abrines season review: Of treys, improved defense and post-game selfies

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) /
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OKC Thunder
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – APRIL 25: Alex Abrines /

Alex Abrines’ crucial improvement on defense

When evaluating Abrines it’s often overlooked he is only a second-year player. Abrines had professional experience in Spain, but the NBA is substantially different. Over the course of his second NBA season, Abrines made stellar strides on defense.

From October 19th – February 28th Abrines possessed a defensive rating of 107 second worst on the team. From March 1st, until the end of the regular season Abrines’ defensive rating improved to 104 second-best on the team.

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In the post-season, Abrines’ defensive rating spiked to 99. Abrines is not the defender his 99 playoff defensive rating indicates. Although his overall statistics in the playoffs back the rating.

In the Thunder’s six-game playoff series against the Utah Jazz, Abrines was the primary defender on 218 possessions. Limiting his offensive player to 26 points on 7-30, 23.3 percent shooting.

Abrines also got the opportunity to guard Donovan Mitchell on 24 possessions. Abrines held Mitchell to 9 points on 3 of 9 or 33.3 percent shooting. Mitchell attempted 25 free throws in the series, he was James Harden lite at drawing fouls.

Yet, Mitchell drew a mere two shooting fouls while Abrines was guarding him. Hence the massive step forward in Abrines’ development as he struggled with fouling during the regular season. Most impressive Abrines was playing such effective defense while playing through the pain of a sports hernia.

Grade: B-

Abrines made great progress on the defensive end over the course of the season. He still has much to add to his arsenal in order to be a true three and D option. His health must remain intact as he has dealt with some form of injury throughout his first two seasons.

Abrines is roughly two-weeks post sports hernia surgery. In all hopefulness, it is his first and final procedure of the summer.

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