By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Oklahoma City Thunder wing Alex Abrines discussed the reasons he believes his team failed to make it past the first round of the Western Conference playoffs last season.
The arrival of superstars Paul George and Carmelo Anthony in Oklahoma created some high expectations for the team that looked like a legit contender in the eyes of many. Yet the Utah Jazz shut down the Thunder‘s hopes by eliminating them in the quarterfinals with a 4-2 record. For Abrines, although the players performed according to their capabilities, the team never managed to click well enough as a whole, to advance further in the playoffs.
Last season you (the Thunder) entered the short list of candidates to win everything with the signings of George and Carmelo Anthony but didn’t manage to pass the first round.
“We didn’t reach our potential as a team. The same didn’t happen at an individual level. Yes, the players did reach the expected standards, especially our three stars. But as a team, we lacked cohesion. In some periods during the season, we managed to reach that level of basketball, but we could never show the true potential we had as a team.
Many talked about lack of chemistry pointing at Carmelo Anthony. Is that just?
“I’m not in favor of pointing at people. Everyone had his own share of responsibility. Looking at things from an outsider’s point of view, it looks like Carmelo was mostly targeted. But this didn’t have to do with bad relationships among us. It was more of a matter of everyone having to accept a different role, especially with the arrival of Paul George and Carmelo. I think that ‘a little bit of from everyone’ wasn’t enough.”
Abrines also talked about the criticism he sometimes receives in social media and if it affects him in any way.
“No, the truth is that they don’t affect me. In the end, what I think is that all those who criticize me don’t play in the NBA and I do. The simple fact of being there and playing between 15 and 20 minutes per game is something they don’t value, I think. Yes, it’s true that maybe if I had stayed with Barcelona I would play 30-35 minutes each game. But it’s Barcelona, not the Thunder.