Whether from draft pundits or team officials, the theme of patience arose in the 24 hours after the Washington Wizards traded up to snag wing threat Kelly Oubre Jr. The 19-year-old athletic dynamo with freaky length and one year of college experience under his belt could end up being a force in the NBA - but don't expect much contribution right away, the message goes.
Granted, many teams won't experience change in fortunes simply because of a player they added in round one. Andrew Wiggins shined as a rookie and yet Minnesota finished with the league's worst record. Seemingly everyone expects Duke center Jahlil Okafor to post impressive numbers during his first year in Philadelphia, and yet the 76ers are surely headed for another bottom-5 record because there is little else surround the No. 3 overall selection.
That's a different kind of patience than the one involving Oubre, who was a top 10 recruit coming out of Nevada's Findlay Prep. The best explanation I've heard so far as to why fans should temper initial expectations yet be excited about the risk-reward involving the 6-foot-7 forward with a 7-foot-2 wingspan came Friday via a post-NBA Draft discussion with Chad Ford and Ryen Russillo on the Grantland Sports podcast.
The duo went back-and-forth with the thoughts on all the lottery picks and the decisions by those teams. Ford, ESPN's lead NBA Draft analyst, then steered the conversation to the first player drafted outside lottery range by asking Russillo for his take on the small forward who averaged a little over nine points and 21 minutes per game as a freshman. At times over the last calendar year, Oubre was considered a possible top-5 pick in prominent mock drafts.
"I get why teams are scared off because there's not a lot of real stuff to go off of when you watch him in games," Russillo said. "But it did get better. ...I understand the measurement side of and the (wingspan), but the way he would attack the rim sometimes, you just want to tell Oubre this isn't working. It's great to be able to say you want to drive to the rim, but eventually it has to pay off with some kind of reward for the team and it didn't always happen. But, physically, he's an NBA wing coming out of high school."
MORE WIZARDS: OUBRE IS READY TO COMPETE AGAINST THE STARS
This set up Ford, a Kansas alum who claims to watch every Jayhawk game, for the insight he wanted to share.
"No one frustrated me more than Kelly Oubre because the talent is there but the evidence wasn't showing on the court. A lot of NBA scouts are like, "I'm watching tape. What exactly does he do well again? He gets hot or whatever.
"But here's the thing. I went to Santa Barbara (pre-draft). Drew Hanlen, who I really respect, who is a trainer, Brad Beal's guy, he worked with Andrew Wiggins last year. He said something to me that really stood out because I thought (Oubre) looked better, a lot better in Santa Barbara and I was a little bit surprised.
"(Hanlen) was like, 'I got the kid in. He got by on his size and athletic ability and just raw instincts his whole career. He never had training. He's never been taught. He's never really looked at film. He doesn't really know what's going on.' The word a GM used was 'basketball illiterate' and I think he was. Nobody really taught him how to read, right. He just went out and played. That's why he ran into so much trouble at Kansas, even defensively. He didn't know what was going on on the court. He couldn't read and even understand plays.
"But Drew told me this kid is going three-a-days right now and then he's coming to (Hanlen's house) at night and we're watching film every night and we're just breaking down the game. He can't get enough of it."
"That got me excited," Ford continued. "If that's the problem, just the lack of education about the game - now that takes time, to develop those instincts for the game and have that knowledge translate to the court. I think Kelly Oubre is going to have a rocky start when he gets to the NBA. But if he's going to put in that work and work with Drew every summer and he's going to keep breaking down film and everything else, Kelly Oubre could be a MONSTER in the NBA. ...If he develops, the Wizards got an absolute steal."