This is a possible free agent acquisition I’m really excited to talk about, and mostly because I spent almost all season thinking of ways the Thunder could trade for Sergio Rodriquez. I intended to begin by describing how soaked in ineptitude the Thunder’s second unit was throughout this season—especially in the playoffs—but I think Thunder fans are fully aware, and no one is pining for another round of Semaj Christion. It’s clear to see the focal point of the Thunder’s second unit woes begin and mostly end at the backup point guard position—insert Sergio Rodriquez.
Sergio was drafted in 2006 by the Portland Trail Blazers, and after spending four years in the NBA, getting traded twice, he signed a 3-year deal to return to Spain to play for Real Madrid. He ended up signing an extension, winning Euroleague MVP in 2014, and went on to play for a Real Madrid team the won the Spanish League Championship. Last season the Sixers brought in Sergio on a 1-year 8-million-dollar deal, and Brian Colangelo said, in regards to bringing in Sergio, that he “has proven to be a great floor leader and decision maker while finding much team success throughout his career.” The key words here are “floor leader” and “decision maker.” For the Thunder, the backup point guard role is of desperate need of someone who can facilitate the offense, and get the ball to our players in the best spots for them to succeed.
The Thunder’s second unit is littered with shooters and scorers, but they cannot consistently create their own shot. Alex Abrines and Doug McDermott are fantastic three point shooters that need a guard that has the vision to find them consistently for open looks. Josh Wilson of Fansided wrote “One of the greatest things we’ve seen from Sergio this season is how good of a passer he is. Whether it’s a no-look back out to the 3-point line as he’s driving into the lane, or a behind the back dime to Embiid cutting into the key, Rodriguez has demonstrated a knack for knowing where the ball needs to be and knowing how to get it there.” For a second unit made up of Abrines, McDermott, and Enes Kanter, I think this type of veteran player with vision can really allow the second unit to come alive, and not only stay afloat when Russell is on the bench, but extend leads and have no problem putting the ball in the hoop. Sergio does not help at all on the defensive end of the floor, but honestly, was the Thunder’s bench playing defense last year? With young shooters and a young Kanter, this second unit could really benefit from having a basketball IQ playmaker that can see the floor and get these guys the ball where they feel comfortable.
Now the fun part and the origin of my fascination… The thunder should put the keys to the second unit in the hands of the Spanish. The Thunder Organization is high on Alex Abrines—a 23 year old shooter they drafted back in 2013. Like Sergio, he too played basketball in the Euroleague for FC Barcelona. We, as Thunder fans, always talk about the Stach Bros in Kanter and Adams, but what about the possibility of the Amigos de España? The two former Euroleague players have the ability to transform the Thunder’s second unit, and create a spark when Russell hits the pine. Can’t you see the entire fan base in Chesapeake doing the double-sided beard rub on a behind the back Sergio to Abrines for three? Wouldn’t you love to see Sergio do the beard rub against the haggard beard that he currently has… Or imagine Steven Adams and Sergio comparing beards, and trying to out grow one another? It would be a pure sight of joy. The large question becomes, “What is his price tag?” Last year he signed a 1-year 8-million-dollar deal, and if anything, I believe his stock went a little down over the course of the season. Could the Thunder sign him for a 2-year 12-million-dollar deal? Would he accept the mid-level? These are things Sam Presti will evaluate, based on his market value, but he is a very realistic pickup for the Oklahoma City Thunder.