When it was all said and done, the Wizards would’ve likely had their pick of the prospects most rumored and mocked to be heading their way at No. 19 — Bobby Portis, Jerian Grant, Delon Wright, Justin Anderson, Kevon Looney. But with a slight slip for one guy, and a surprising trade (kind of) by Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld, Washington ended up landing a potential lottery talent in Kansas freshman Kelly Oubre.
As the Atlanta Hawks took the clock and made the 15th-overall pick, Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski dropped one his ten million #WojBombs for the night, stating Washington had traded for the 15th-overall pick and would select Oubre. But on the television broadcast (who was slowly drudging through Woj’s dust all night), the Hawks were making their pick and there was no mention of a trade.
A few things as part of the initial reaction, at least on my end:
- “Whoa. Cool. The Wizards just scored some serious talent.”
- “Given how Ernie uses his second-round picksc, this is actually a solid haul for the front office.”
- “Wait, this guy’s gonna need to develop. Can Washington do that?”
But I’ve had time now. I’ve slept on it. I’ve thought about it (some more), and here’t goes.
- Kelly Oubre isn’t ready to contribute right now, and while the selfish fan in me wants to be frustrated, I’m very much okay with tapping into some patience and waiting this one out…mainly because I believe Oubre can be really, really good.
- It’s not a straight comparison, but watching Oubre reminds me a little bit of Trevor Ariza, mainly based on two attributes: his ability to disrupt passing lanes with his length and quickness, and his ability to knock down both spot-up threes and trailing threes.
- When people refer to a prospect as being “raw”, a guy like Oubre is who they’re talking about. You can see the potential when you watch him play — the size, the slashing ability, the splashy long-range shots, the above-the-rim throwdowns — but none of that translates right away. There’s required time for development in which he works on what he knows and learns what he doesn’t.
- That said, working and practicing alongside young stars like John Wall and Bradley Beal should be good for Oubre’s development. Not only from an on-court perspective in which playing with a guy like Wall helps your own game, but also from an off-the-court standpoint in which Oubre can see how the young stars operate (working out, responsibilities, life off the court, etc.).
- And while on the topic of teammates who can assist in grooming a young wing, who better than Paul Pierce? The veteran was a massive plus in the leadership department last season, helping the likes of Wall and Beal, and here’s to hoping the Wiz can lure him back, if not for the sole purpose of beating up on Oubre and shooting UNBELIEVABLE SHOTS come playoff time. Wine and dine that man, Ernie. WINE AND DINE HIM!
- Ultimately, Kelly Oubre can be a stud. As fans, we have to put all faith in the coaching staff and the players currently on the roster, as well as pray that Randy Wittman doesn’t destroy the young man in a fun-loving bare-knuckles boxing match after a random Wednesday practice.
- I can’t remember where I heard it (somewhere on draft night), but they described Oubre’s potential as, “a guy who could win both the dunk contest and the three-point contest.” That’s pretty solid.
- There are odd (and totally frickin’ rad) connections popping up all over the interwebs about the friendship (or maybe even mentorship-ish) between Oubre and the gawd Kevin Durant. Read into that if you want. Or don’t. I KNOW I AM. #KD2DC, ya’ll.
- Read things, watch things, listen to things, the consensus on Oubre seems to echo three main notes: good character, lots of potential, final product will require some patience. I’m not calling him bust-proof, but none of those are bad things.
Moving on to what I don’t like about Oubre when I watch him, ALL OF WHICH ARE CORRECTABLE, GUYS, so no worries.
- Inconsistent effort on defense — and it’s probably atop the list. Because we’ve seen Oubre be a lockdown defender, because there’s no doubting his length, and because we know he has the quickness to stay in front of (arguably) three positions, we know this whole effort thing is curable. But geez, when you see it, it’s the most frustrating thing.
- Oubre isn’t a great ball handler at this stage in his career, so there’s plenty left to be desired in that department. However, playground-legend handles aren’t exactly required (see: Arizaisms) for what I think I imagine him being as a player.d
- Everything about him matches the description of a guy who can brush off a screen and knockdown a jumper, but that’s not necessarily the case. He can spot, he can trail, but bring him off a screen and Oubre isn’t nearly as efficient. Need those, bro.
- What I’m about to say is so, so wrong, but it’s honest. As the story goes (according to Ernie and Randy), the Wizards didn’t bring in Oubre for a workout simply because they didn’t think he’d be available. They thought he was a possible lottery pick. But then, once Oubre became attainable, it was a “no-brainer” pick. This very much scares me a whole bunch, and it’s not because of Kelly Oubre the player. It’s because of Ernie Grunfeld.
Grunfeld’s track record when it comes to the draft is far from solid, and therefore we all have a right to be at least a little scared. But overall, this feels good. This feels like the Wizards worked efficiently, landed some really good potential, and they have trust in their team and staff to groom Kelly Oubre into something great. And until that plan fails miserably, I refuse to live in fear. I liked Oubre before the draft and I like him even more now that he’s in Washington.
Happy Draft Season!
- The Wizards selected Jerian Grant at No. 19 for the Hawks (back)
- The Hawks then turned around and traded Jerian Grant to the Knicks in exchange for Tim Hardaway Jr., which leaves Atlanta fans like, “Wait, wait, wait…where is Danny Ferry?” (back)
- Very limited value placed on those bad boys. Like, either sell ‘em for cash or draft’n stash. That’s it. (back)
- That was a confusing sentence. (back)