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Wizards pick up Kelly Oubre, Jr.'s contract option with bright future ahead

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Wizards pick up Kelly Oubre, Jr.'s contract option with bright future ahead

The play of Kelly Oubre, Jr. over the past calendar year had made the Wizards picking up his contract option an increasingly easy decision. On Saturday, they opted to keep him for the fourth year of his rookie contract, the 2018-19 season, and did so with a week to spare before the deadline.

Oubre, 21, has emerged as a key contributor for a Wizards team with expectations of a deep playoff run. He is still finding his trule role in the NBA, but with his youth and potential, and the fact he's still on a rookie deal, Oubre has a unique place on their roster.

John Wall and Bradley Beal have already emerged as stars. Otto Porter still has room to get much better, but has already arrived and earned a max contract. Oubre, though already established in their rotation, has plenty of room to grow.

Oubre, the 15th overall pick in 2015, doubled his minutes last season to 20.3 per game under head coach Scott Brooks with averages of 6.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 0.7 steals per game. He earned Brooks' trust mainly on the defensive end with his versatility and high motor.

Consistency is where Oubre needs to improve, but through two games this season he appears to have taken another step. Oubre added two inches to his vertical leap over the summer despite rehabbing from platelet-rich plasma treatment on his right knee. He also gained some muscle, allowing him to make strides as a rebounder. Oubre has 15 rebounds through two games and said it's specific focus of his.

[RELATED: WALL TALKS LONZO AND LAVAR BALL]

The Wizards are a good enough offensive team currently to where Oubre can focus on defense and rebounding. But his growing confidence on offense has been evident so far this year and especially in the preseason. He has worked on dribbling with his right hand and the result is more aggression attacking the rim. Though still not a polished product, Oubre is taking small steps to emerge as a more dangerous scoring threat.

The Wizards will have another decision to make on Oubre this time next year. One day before the 2018-19 regular season begins, they will have to choose whether to hand Oubre a rookie scale contract extension. They weren't able to beat that deadline with Porter and the next summer he received a $106.5 million max deal after hitting the market as a restricted free agent. 

Oubre at this very moment wouldn't command that type of money in free agency, but the same was said about Porter at this point in his career. Porter was able to improve significantly in his fourth season.

Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis said this summer that he would love to have Oubre force the issue with his performance on the court.

"He's going to come back and work really, really hard and challenge us to pay him a lot of money, too, which I'm glad to do," Leonsis said. 

It's early in the season, but Oubre may be on his way towards making the Wizards ponder his long-term future.

The Washington Post first reported Oubre's contract option getting picked up.

[RELATED: WALL EXPLAINS WOLF SEASON]

 

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John Wall has MRI on left knee as early-season injury saga continues

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John Wall has MRI on left knee as early-season injury saga continues

Point guard John Wall was a notable absence at Friday afternoon's Wizards practice, as he sat out after having an MRI done on his left knee earlier in the day. 

Despite playing well against the Hornets in the team's last game, Wall is still feeling discomfort and now the Wizards wait to hear the test results. Wall may not play against the Blazers on Saturday night.

"John is definitely going to be questionable tomorrow," head coach Scott Brooks said. "We'll see how he feels [Saturday morning] and then make a decision from there."

Wall's knee issues date back to two weekends ago. He was administered two IVs by the Wizards training staff in order to play in a game against the Hawks. Those IVs were given to him due to him being sick and dealing with migraine headaches. But the fluids did not settle correctly and collected in his knee.

[RELATED: MORRIS HAS GROWN VERY CLOSE TO WALL AND BEAL]

Wall has since had his knee drained, but the problems have persisted. Wall says his mobility is affected most.

Wall, 27, has missed two games for the Wizards this season, one due to a sprained left shoulder and another because of his knee. He is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.

Wall had one of his best games against the season in Charlotte on Wednesday. Despite playing through pain, he managed 31 points and 11 assists. He played 41 minutes because the game went to overtime.

If Wall can't go against the Blazers, the Wizards will rely heavily on backup point guard Tim Frazier. Either way, they have a tough assignment at that position with Damian Lillard of Portland.

[RELATED: MORRIS IS A BIG FAN OF MIKE SCOTT]

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Markieff Morris sees a lot of himself in Wizards teammate Mike Scott

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Markieff Morris sees a lot of himself in Wizards teammate Mike Scott

The early returns on backup forward Mike Scott have been quite good for the Wizards. Signed to a one-year deal in free agency, Scott is off to a strong start.

He's averaging 8.6 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 53.4 percent from the field and 44.8 percent from three. His 59.7 effective field goal percentage is second on the team behind Otto Porter.

At his best, Scott has proven to be instant offense and an efficient scorer. He's reached double figures in seven out of his last 12 appearances while shooting 59 percent.

Scott is the backup to Markieff Morris and Morris likes what he sees so far.

"He fits perfect. We should have been gotten him," Morris said on the Wizards Tipoff podcast. "I feel like me and him are going to have a couple great years together, if you ask me."

[RELATED: MORRIS STANDS UP FOR RAPPER MEEK MILL]

There are some similarities in the games of Morris and Scott. They are close in size and can score both inside and out. They offer a respectable three-point shot with a strong midrange and post game to complement.

Others have pointed it out and Morris sees it, too.

"I think he's trying to steal my game," he joked. "We kind of resemble each other a lot more than what I thought before he got here."

Morris of course has a twin in real life, Marcus who plays for the Celtics. But Scott is like his twin on the Wizards' bench, figuratively speaking.

"It's kind of hard to distinguish between the two sometimes when they're making shots because they play the same way," guard Bradley Beal said. "They can knock down threes, they can give you the post up game, they can handle the ball. They are definitely one in the same, in a sense."

"There's a lot of similarities. They have a lot of the same mannerisms," head coach Scott Brooks said. "They have this real, tough, calming influence on the group. I like guys that have that edge to them."

Morris also discussed his relationship with John Wall and Bradley Beal, how his season has gone so far and who Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons remind him of on the podcast.

Listen to the full interview 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!