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Thoughts from an NBA Mock Drafter on Wizards selecting Oubre

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Thoughts from an NBA Mock Drafter on Wizards selecting Oubre

"Was the Kelly Oubre Jr. pick surprising?" is a question coming up a bunch. The answer is yes, but only with context. I was about to share such thoughts on the Wizards selection with a few tweets, but when a few turned into many, I switched to a blog post.

Pre-draft, I only profiled 1st rounders with 19 in mind, including Oubre. Yet, honestly, I never really considered mocking him to Wizards and not because he didn't work out at Verizon Center. Why?

Whether Paul Pierce stayed or not, I'm thinking the Wizards are in the Eastern Conference title chase. Without much free agent wiggle room, this player needed to help in 2015-16.

Also, with this coach, inconsistency doesn't play. Most rookies have such issues, but Oubre had them during his one season at Kansas. Also, no self-run D-League team with which to stash. I cooled on other frosh (Kevon Looney) for similar reasons. 

Granted, you shouldn't pass on upside for short-term especially since John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter are long-term plays.

Based on the current-day scenario (19th pick, limited cap space, East race), only true UPSIDE I'm thinking about now for Wizards is 2016 free agent Kevin Durant. 

Players typically linked to Wizards at 19, like Bobby Portis and R.J. Hunter, certainly intrigue. For mostly athletic reasons, taking them would be like swinging for a double. That's no knock. If you read anything I wrote pre-draft you know I liked those two and others lots. 

Also doesn't mean they couldn't be more. In my opinion*, seeking out a "double" was the Wizards aim at 19. Why? 

(*There were essentially no leaks/rumors from national or local media about which direction Washington was headed. By comparison, Oklahoma City was linked to Cameron Payne weeks ago. The Thunder drafted the Murray State guard at 14.)

The Wizards' rotation next season, while mostly intact from a second-straight playoff run, has holes (shooting, mobile power forward, true third guard, backup center) and that's counting Pierce staying. Address needs for push as East remains wide open. 

MORE WIZARDS: WHITE TO GO ACROSS THE POND

Taking Oubre equals swing for the fences. If we ranked every player in draft just based on "upside," Oubre is top-8-ish. 6-foot-7 small forward with a 7-foot-2 wingspan, great frame and playmaking style. We can tell he doesn't lack for confidence. 

That potential is mostly based on athleticism and wingspan, not college production, of which there was little, though he certainly improved over time.

Now, don't freak over these comparisons. View in context of draft prospect not result. In previous drafts, team president Ernie Grunfeld took big swings on athleticism with JaVale McGee and Jan Vesely However...

Unlike those two, Oubre was consistently deemed a lottery pick for over one year, according to DraftExpress.com's mock draft history. ESPN ranked Oubre 11th best prospect in 2014 class, ahead of D'Angelo Russell. The Los Angeles Lakers drafted the Ohio State guard second overall Thursday. 

Draft Express mocked Vesely 61st in drafts in May 2010. One month later, he zoomed to third overall. One year later, Wizards picked him sixth. Ironically, the same site had McGee as the 61st pick three months before the 2008 Draft. Soon after, they bumped up the big man to 18, which ended up being where Washington selected McGee. Apparently the basketball world, including the Wizards, swooned hard for those athletic freaks.

If anything, the Oubre heat cooled slightly, but the overall general range burned consistently. As recently as December, DraftExpress had Oubre 5th in 2015 NBA Mock. His status dipped with initial limited playing time at KU. (Averaged eight minutes per game in first seven games before finishing at 21 on the season).

Unlike Vesely, Oubre already provides some tangible skills. He shot 36 percent on 3-point attempts and 72 percent at the free throw line at Kansas.

Let's see what happens.

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

The All-Star break came at a good time for Wizards point guard Tim Frazier, who missed their last game before the week off due to nasal fracture surgery.

Frazier was back at the Wizards' practice on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena and expects to play on Thursday when the team returns to action on the road at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"I feel good. I feel like I can go out there and help them compete," he said.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Frazier, 27, had surgery to repair his broken nose on Feb. 11 after he was knocked out of the previous night's game between the Wizards and Bulls. Frazier collided face-first with the knee of Bobby Portis and was immediately ushered to the locker room with blood streaming from his nose.

Following the procedure, Frazier had to battle through pain and breathing issues. He feels much better now and had no complications after participating in a full practice.

The challenge now is adjusting to a fitted mask he will have to wear to return to the court. Frazier has never had to wear a mask before in his basketball career.

"[Sweat] was one of the issues today, trying to keep it dry when I'm sweating underneath," he said.

"He looked good," head coach Scott Brooks said. "I thought he would be a little uncomfortable with it, but he seemed fine."

RELATED: WIZARDS HAVE BIG QUESTIONS TO ANSWER IN SECOND HALF

Frazier has been given advice from the Wizards' training staff, as well as teammate Bradley Beal who has had to wear a mask twice before in his career.

"Brad said that after a while you get used to it. Nobody wants to wear it for the rest of their careers besides Rip Hamilton," Frazier said.

Getting Frazier back is significant for the Wizards, who are already down a point guard with John Wall rehabbing from left knee surgery. Without Frazier against the Knicks on Wednesday, the Wizards had to use Beal and Otto Porter to bring the ball up at times. Now, with Tomas Satoransky and Frazier, they have a starting point guard and a backup who is used to playing the position.

They could have three point guards, as the Wizards continue to weigh their options in free agency. They have to add a player within the next two days to meet the league's minimum roster requirement. Most of the free agents they have evaluated have been point guards as they aim to compensate for Wall's absence, which could last well into the month of March.

RELATED: 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT HAS LOADED CLASS

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller look ahead to the biggest questions the Wizards need to answer after the All-Star break. They also explain why Bradley Beal proved a lot in his first All-Star Game appearance.

They also unveiled a new segment involving guessing Wizards players based on their social media captions.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!