Quick Links

NBA Draft analyst: Oubre lacks hoops instincts, but 'monster' upside


NBA Draft analyst: Oubre lacks hoops instincts, but 'monster' upside

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."


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."

Quick Links

2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 3: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 3: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka and the Toronto Raptors on Friday night in Game 3 of the 2018 NBA Playoffs.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:


Series: Raptors lead 2-0
Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 7 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Do or die

If the Wizards lose on Friday night, the series will technically not be over. They will be down 0-3 with a home game up next and an opportunity to extend their season and send it all back to Toronto. That said, the odds would not be good. In fact, they would be pretty much as bad as they can be.

No team in NBA history has ever come back from down 0-3 in a series. So, unless the Wizards feel like they can make history, like UMBC over Virginia history, then they better win Game 3. 

Now, some teams have come close to making it happen. Three times before a team has gone down 0-3 and forced seven games. The last time was the 2003 Blazers, who fell in Game 7 to the Mavs. 

Recovering from an 0-3 deficit to win a seven-game series has happened in both baseball and hockey, most famously in 2004 when the Red Sox beat the Yankees to reach the World Series. At some point it will happen in basketball, but the chances are essentially next-to-none. The Wizards will be much better off by winning Game 3, just like they did last year when they went down 0-2 against the Celtics in the second round and forced a Game 7.

Beal and Otto

The Wizards are hoping to see more from both Bradley Beal and Otto Porter. It was a big topic of discussion at Thursday's practice how both guys need to be more aggressive in looking for their own shot. Beal was held to just nine points in Game 2 and Porter, the NBA's third-best three-point shooter, didn't even attempt one three.

Brooks held a meeting with Beal and John Wall to discuss how they can get Beal more opportunities, but ultimately it's up to him and Porter to force the issue for themselves. It would seem likely at least one of them breaks out in Game 3. They both were great against the Raptors during the regular season and both proved throughout the year that they can score against anybody.

Too many threes

The biggest reason the Wizards are down 0-2 in this series is the three-point shot. The Raptors have hit a ton of them and even though the Wizards have been intent on stopping them, they have had no such luck.

The Raptors hit 16 threes in the first game to set a playoff franchise record. They shot 51.7 percent from long range. In Game 2, they hit 13 and 11 were in the first half. They made seven of them in the first quarter alone to the tune of 44 points, the worst defensive quarter in the playoffs in Wizards franchise history since 1965.

This is how much the three-point shot matters: the Raptors' 11 first-half threes in Game 2 helped them outscore the Wizards by 18 points by halftime, but in the second half when they hit only two threes, the Wizards edged them by seven points. Washington has to stop the three-pointer, it's that simple.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

For more on the Wizards-Raptors series, check out or latest Wizards Tipoff podcast:

Quick Links

Wizards hope meeting between superstar backcourt can jumpstart Bradley Beal's playoff production

Wizards hope meeting between superstar backcourt can jumpstart Bradley Beal's playoff production

With an 0-2 deficit in their first-round playoff series against the Raptors, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks called for a meeting with his two All-Star guards once his team returned to Washington. Brooks met with John Wall and Bradley Beal, hoping to solve an issue that plagued them particularly in Game 2, a blowout loss.

Brooks is intent on getting more out of Beal offensively and since Wall is the quarterback of their offense, it made sense to have him present. After Beal scored nine points and shot just 3-for-11 from the field and 1-for-5 from three, it is clear to Brooks that the Wizards need more to climb back in this series.

"We need to have Brad play well. It's no secret that you need your best players to step up and play well," Brooks said.

Both Brooks and Wall, who each spoke after Thursday's practice, said Beal needs to be more assertive in the offense. Beal averaged 28.8 points against the Raptors through four regular season games and Wall did not play in any of them. In theory, things should be easier for him now with another star player drawing attention.

That has not been the case, however. Beal is averaging 14.0 points through two games while shooting just 39.3 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from three. 

Even if his shot isn't falling, the Wizards want Beal to force the issue.

"I feel like I tell him at times that he needs to be more aggressive. Be more aggressive and look for your shot," Wall said. "He even says it that he has to be more aggressive himself. Even if he's missing or making shots. That's how he's been all season. We need that same type of player, to be aggressive and get at least 20 shots or more per game. That's when our team is probably at our best."

Beal has been limited to 14 shots per game by the Raptors when he averaged 18.1 during the regular season. Wall said he and Beal often talk within games about how Beal would like to be set up and the meeting with Brooks involved some of that dialogue.

While Beal's struggles stand out, the same could be said for Otto Porter, the Wizards' third-leading scorer. Porter was held to 12 points in Game 2 and did not attempt a single three-pointer. For a guy who finished third in the NBA in three-point percentage (44.1), that is difficult to justify.

Like Beal, the Wizards need Porter to impose his will a bit more and according to Brooks, the right lower leg strain he suffered late in the regular season is not to blame.

"He's 100 percent healthy," Brooks said. "It's always been a little bit of a problem. We want Otto to be more aggressive. We gotta run some more plays for him and the defense has done a good job on him. We need him to play well."

Like Beal, Porter had success against Toronto in the regular season. He averaged 18.5 points on 59.2 percent shooting, including a 24-point game on March 2. 

The Wizards need Beal and Porter to step up, knowing the series could hinge on if they do.





NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!