Washington Wizards forward Kelly Oubre is taking advantage of the opportunity Scott Brooks has given him during preseason.
It’s hard to judge an NBA player based on his summer league performances. The talent on the court isn’t NBA quality and those that perform well don’t always carry it over to the next level.
This summer, Washington Wizards forward Kelly Oubre was named to the All-NBA Summer League second team. He averaged over 19 points in the circuit, displaying his ability to create off the dribble and knock down the outside shot.
Oubre, a former 15th overall pick, carries himself like a superstar. Everything about Oubre screams “star” – from his purposely shorter than intended shorts to his haircut. This is the same person who rocked spiked shoes during the NBA Draft.
Washington hired Scott Brooks this summer so the notable player developer could turn Oubre’s off-court swag to on-court production. This isn’t a Nick Young type of situation, as some outsiders tend to believe.
Oubre, 20, is aware of his weaknesses. He’s spent countless of hours in the gym with trainer Drew Hanlen working on his game.
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He’s become an ambassador for his hometown, Louisiana.
Oubre is more complex than what the national media portrays.
And his hard work – the time that he’s spent quietly developing in the off-season – is beginning to pay off.
After two games, Oubre has brought the success he had during summer league over to preseason, scoring 40 points on 59 percent shooting.
As Basketball Insiders‘ Alex Kennedy also pointed out, Oubre has made four of his five 3-point attempts.
The exhibition games in preseason aren’t nearly as competitive as the meaningful contests during the regular season, but there’s more substance to those than in summer league.
Simply put, it’s hard not get excited about the amount of growth Oubre has already shown.
In Washington’s preseason opener against the Miami Heat, Oubre led all scorers with 16 points off the bench on 5-10 shooting from the field. Oubre made both of his tries from deep and only attempted two shots outside of the paint that weren’t 3-pointers.
On Thursday night against the Philadelphia 76ers, Oubre built on the momentum, scoring a game-high 24 points on 8-12 shooting off the bench.
Again, he didn’t take a single mid-range jump shot. Oubre shot a total of 15 free throws in the two games.
So far, Oubre has fit the mold of a modern forward. He’s essentially eliminated the long-two from his game (at least after the first two preseason games) and continues to be aggressive with the ball in his hands.
Having not played in his rookie season, it’s surprising how unafraid Oubre has been. Unlike Otto Porter, who struggles to play with confidence consistently, Oubre has embraced his growing role on the Washington Wizards.
Given the nature of preseason, Brooks will monitor the starters’ minutes and the second unit has been playing more than they typically would. Oubre has taken the opportunity and ran with it.