OKC Thunder: International players Tibor Pleiss and Alex Abrines might have future with Thunder

Both are talented and remain well-regarded in NBA circles. They are expected to have a future in the league. But the question becomes how soon? When will Abrines or Pleiss be ready to make the jump?
by Anthony Slater Published: June 6, 2014

Steven Adams is clearly the starting center of the future and Kendrick Perkins is under contract for another season, with Presti revealing at his exit interview that an amnesty on Perkins was not in consideration at this time.

It remains possible Pleiss comes over as a third center, almost assuredly spelling the end to Hasheem Thabeet’s run in OKC. But it’s more likely the Thunder waits, allowing Pleiss to groom another year overseas, and then reexamines the situation next summer when Perkins will be a free agent.

Pleiss might not be coming now. But he seems close.

Abrines, on the other hand, is in the early stages of his development. He’s a 6-foot-6 sharpshooter who many compare to Rudy Fernandez, the Spanish guard who once averaged double-digits for the Blazers. But he’s only 20-years-old.

This season – which, for Abrines, is still going in the postseason – he played a key role off the bench for FC Barcelona Regal, annually one of the best international clubs in the world. On a balanced roster, Abrines averaged 7.8 points in 19.2 minutes, shooting an impressive 44 percent from three. Despite spotty playing time, he had some big games, leading the team in scoring eight times and exploding for a career-high 29 points last month.

“He’s earned his way onto the floor there in some pretty pivotal games at a very young age,” Presti said.

A good sign for Abrines’ potential future in Oklahoma City. But an NBA future that, at his age and stage of development, still seems years away.

by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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