Washington Wizards: 5 players under pressure in 2018-19

Washington Wizards (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Washington Wizards (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images) /
4 of 6
Washington Wizards
Washington Wizards Kelly Oubre Jr. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

3. Kelly Oubre Jr.

Kelly Oubre Jr.’s 2017-18 season showed his inconsistent play. The small forward had a great first half to the season, but then dropped off once it game time for the second half.

We could just blame the downfall of his second half due to his off the court issues, but we won’t. Oubre had a time to shine and really show his worth, but he failed to do so when the team needed it the most.

With Wall out due to injury, Oubre received more minutes in which he wasn’t tremendously productive. He finished the season averaging 11.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game.  In seasons prior, Oubre showed so much promise, which is largely why the Wizards had faith in him to step up when given the opportunity.

Unfortunately for Oubre, he didn’t impress. If he did, then the team wouldn’t have matched Porter’s max-contract offer from the Nets for $106 million. So, where does this leave Oubre heading into the 2018-19 season? With a tremendous amount of pressure, especially heading into a contract year.

Oubre needs to play to his strengths this season, which is attacking the basketball and being a defensive stopper. He’s got the the physical gifts to get to the rim when he wants, the problem is that he started settling for outside shots. Shooting 34.1% from distance was a career high for him, but isn’t a steady number to be relied on.

Even if Oubre does receive starter minuets as he did last season, he won’t get the opportunity to score as much because he will be low on the pecking order of offensive weapons. Depending on what lineup is in the game, Oubre will be the 3rd option. Adding Dwight Howard, Jeff Green, and Rivers will hinder his production on the offensive side.

If Oubre can focus on the season at hand and not the big picture, then he should be in line for a successful season. It’s hard to find someone who plays harder than Oubre each game. Not to mention, he brings a swagger that most players try and replicate.

I anticipate a productive season since it’s a contract year, but he’s got his work cut out for him. It will be enticing to see how he performs and if everything goes smoothly, this could be his last year in Washington as he looks to cash in on his payday.