Kelly Oubre Jr. wants to be a Warrior for a long time.
The 24-year-old wing, whom Golden State officially acquired in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday, has one year remaining on his contract and is eligible for unrestricted free agency after this season. The Warriors will become the third team he has suited up for in as many seasons when the NBA season begins next month, but Oubre doesn't want to add a fourth to that list anytime soon.
Oubre said Monday in his introductory video conference call with reporters that he "100 percent" believes he can be a long-term fit with the Warriors. He compared the questions he has faced early in his career to the doubts Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green had to overcome.
"I'm obviously a younger individual who can really learn from how they were [able] to handle these certain adverse times," Oubre said Monday, "and you know people saying they weren't going to be this, which they are now and I just want to show everybody that I can potentially be a Hall of Fame player as well. Who is better to learn from than guys like Klay, guys like Steph, guys like Draymond, guys like, you know, everybody who's been through this organization? So, and I've only heard nothing but good things about this organization as a professional side and on the basketball side of course."
Oubre will have plenty of chances to prove his worth. With Thompson set to miss the entirety of the season after tearing his Achilles a week ago, the Warriors have a massive hole to fill in their backcourt and on the wing.
Thompson missed all of last season while rehabbing a torn ACL he sustained in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, and Golden State's defense (and offense) predictably suffered in his absence, to the tune of the NBA's worst record (15-50) when the regular season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. Oubre's just a 32.9 percent 3-point shooter in his career, but the 6-foot-7 guard is an impact defender who will make the Warriors better on the defensive end.
Curry and Thompson's nightly 3-point shooting displays made the highlight reels, but defense was as much of a calling card during the Warriors' dynastic run of five straight trip to the NBA Finals last decade. If Golden State is to compete, let alone contend, in the loaded Western Conference next season, defense will once again have to be a major part of the team's identity.
Oubre will help in that regard, and his defense will go a long way toward him staying in the Bay Area beyond this season.