The Oklahoma City Thunder are, without question, Russell Westbrook’s team. Beyond that, the Thunder employ intriguing veterans with Steven Adams, Victor Oladipo and the injured Enes Kanter, as well as a 2016 lottery pick in Domantas Sabonis. However, none of those (much) more famous players contributed the highlight of the evening against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The player who did? Rookie shooting guard Alex Abrines.
With Oklahoma City holding a small lead in the first quarter, Abrines caught a pass on the right wing and immediately set course for the rim. The rookie from Spain then eluded Kyle Korver before approaching Tristan Thompson in the paint and, before the beastly Cavs big man could thwart him, Abrines was rising up and hammering a powerful dunk on Thompson’s head.
To be frank, this is quite easily the most explosive play in a career that, to this point, includes fewer than 500 minutes played in the NBA for Abrines. Still, he is an intriguing prospect by way of his size, age, and sweet shooting stroke – the 6’6, 23-year-old guard is connecting on a hair under 38 percent of his attempts from three this year.
If Abrines can flash this type of explosiveness and athleticism, the Thunder may have unearthed a gem with the No. 32 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Tristan Thompson probably wasn’t ready for that type of burst from Abrines, but he definitely will be next time.