The Washington Wizards had the 19th pick and the 49th pick in last week’s NBA draft. For the longest it has been said that the team was looking for a backup point guard or a stretch four in the draft, but instead they traded their 19th pick to the Atlanta Hawks for their 15th pick which ended up to be Kansas small forward Kelly Oubre. But was that the rights move for the Wizards?
Let’s see what Kelly brings to the table. Kelly Oubre is a 6’7 small forward with a 7’2 wingspan, so he is the right size for an NBA wing. With his height and long arms, Kelly was a very solid defender during his time with the Jayhawks. He averaged one steal a game. Oubre’s lengths made him an aggressive rebounder as he averaged five rebounds a game. Kelly was compared to former Washington Wizards Trevor Ariza.
On the offensive side of the ball, Oubre stats at Kansas weren’t eye popping and didn’t really stand out. He only averaged 9.3 points per game and 0.8 assist per game. Kelly has a solid three point game. He shot 37% from behind the arc at Kansas.
Kelly Oubre has a lot of potential but like all rookies there are some things he has to improve on. Oubre is a really thin guy and to play the small forward position in the NBA, he might have to spend some time in the weight room and gain a little more strength. Another thing Oubre has to have a constant shot. There times were his jump shot looks off, so developing a constant jump shot is going to be key for him down the road.
Oubre is a player that has a lot of potential to be a good player especially a good defensive player. But was Oubre worth trading for? One thing for sure, the Wizards didn’t give up a lot for him. They only gave up their 19th pick and future second rounder’s, and players in the second round aren’t guaranteed to make the team. Getting Oubre was rather odd because the team has long talked about getting a stretch four like Bobby Portis or Kevin Looney, players who were available.
Then there were talks of the Wizards trying to get a backup point guard to support John Wall. The Wizards did draft Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant but in order to get Oubre they traded him to the Hawks. Atlanta then traded him to the Knicks for Tim Hardaway Jr.
The Wizards were better off drafting Jerian Grant because the team needs a backup point guard that can put in solid minutes off the bench while John Wall is getting rest. Getting a stretch four like SEC Player of the Year Bobby Portis seemed like a good option as well.
Another thing to look at is, can the Wizards develop Oubre to be a good NBA player. Kelly Oubre has all the signs that he can be a good NBA player. He won’t make an immediate impact in the league right away; it’s going to take time. Can Randy Wittman and the coaching staff make Oubre the player he is meant to be? It’s one thing to have potential but if it does not develop properly then it’s worth nothing.
Getting Oubre makes sense if Paul Pierce doesn’t resign with the Wizards over the summer and they think about moving Otto Porter to the starting position. Even if that happens, the Wizards still have a few holes to fill in their bench when it comes to the point guard position and the power forward position. In addition to that, is Otto actually ready to be a starter? He did have a good postseason but he was coming off the bench as a sixth man.
If Paul Pierce does leave and there is a good chance that he does. Porter will likely be the starter and Oubre will fill in Porter’s role as a small forward coming off the bench. This scenario makes it look like the Wizards are taking a step back from the past two seasons since they normally had a veteran small forward in their starting lineup.
The Wizards don’t have a lot of money so they won’t be able to acquire a big time player like Paul Millsap, and if they did, the idea of signing Kevin Durant in 2016 goes down the drain. Then again, Pierce might stay, and the Wizards will have that veteran presence back but if that happens, getting Kelly Oubre will feel like the team got extra baggage a the small forward position. And they could have got a point guard or a stretch four.
There is a lot to take away from the Wizards getting Oubre. It could be a sign of the team parting ways with Pierce. Maybe it’s a sign that the Wizards are pushing really hard to get Kevin Durant to come home since Kelly has a good relationship with the former MVP. Only next season will tell if the Wizards picked wisely in the draft or made another mistake they have done in past draft (i.e. Jan Vesely, and Kwane Brown).
Ryan McFadden is the president of Inside The Locker Room and alumni at DeMatha Catholic High School. He will be attending IONA College and plans to major in Mass Communication. If you want to talk sports, be sure to give him a follow on Twitter @RMcFadden15.
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