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Film study: How Kelly Oubre can be an impact player until his offense catches up

Film study: How Kelly Oubre can be an impact player until his offense catches up

The first double-double of Kelly Oubre's career came after he was quickly yanked from the previous game, a loss vs. the San Antonio Spurs.

The second-year forward, however, was a spark from the moment he took the court in an overtime win over the Sacramento Kings, and coach Scott Brooks might finally be able to depend on him as Otto Porter's backup. 

Oubre has teetered between erratic and dependable. Athletically, he's exactly what the Wizards need. Mentally, he can be hit or miss when he enters a game from the bench. And considering how well Porter is playing, it can be difficult to believe that the starting small forward spot was ever an open competition in training camp. 

"He's buying into what we need him to do. We need him to be this high-energy guy that he is," said Markieff Morris, the starting power forward, about Oubre.

"Dunk the basketball, run the floor, play defense. That's his role on the team. We need as much energy as possible from him because he's one of those type of guys"


Brooks was fed up with Oubre blowing a defensive assignment by getting beat on a backdoor cut by the aged Pau Gasol in that loss to the Spurs. He played three minutes and never returned. Oubre logged 24 minutes vs. the Kings, one fewer than his season-high that also came in a similar performance he had in a win over the Phoenix Suns.

How good was Oubre?

He was exceptionally good:

Position defense without reaching is what works here. Omri Casspi is trying to dribble into the lane but is denied. Oubre bodies him up early and prevents him from turning the corner or squaring up for a shot. By playing disciplined individual defense, it allows Bradley Beal to stay in range of Garrett Temple while reaching in to deflect the ball in the passing lane. The result here is a forced shot to beat the shot clock that's errant.

Rudy Gay's first instinct is to shoot. So is his next instinct after he's denied. Oubre takes away the middle of the floor here, too, forcing Gay to take a difficult and contested fall-away shot. He misses but is able to get his own rebound for the bucket. More help to gang rebound by teammates might've salvaged this effort.

This play ended with a foul that had nothing to do with Oubre. He's alert and doesn't allow Darren Collison's cross screen to separate him from Gay. And pushes him out of his preferred position so he can't set for the post up too deep. 

DeMarcus Cousins' lax help coverage allows this to work so well. Oubre doesn't panic on the closeout by Ty Lawson. He also doesn't do the predictable baseline drive to try to finish at the rim in traffic.

Instead, Oubre accepts the screen from Morris and reads it well. Cousins is in no-man's land. He doesn't trap the ball to help Lawson. He doesn't bump down on the roll man, Morris, to prevent a rim run. Oubre makes a pocket pass that hits his man in stride perfectly to force a foul. Oubre's tendency in this situation has been to shoot no matter what. This is a read and react.

Oubre stays connected to Casspi, going over the screen to short cut it. Though he catches the entry pass, Casspi isn't in position to score. Oubre takes away the look immediately and moves with his feet -- he doesn't reach -- and contests the shot at the top. Casspi is bothered by it and short.

The ball pressure on Gay is what's required on the perimeter at all times. It forces the offense to start farther out from the rim, erodes time on the shot clock and usually results in a lower-percentage look that can be rushed. Oubre gets over the screen attempt by Kosta Koufas and never gives Gay an opportunity to turn any corners.

Again, Oubre doesn't reach-in for a cheap foul to bail him out.

This is an example of how a player can impact a game positively and make his team better without scoring.


Oubre had 10 points and 10 rebounds but none of these highlights involve a made basket. Only one is from the offensive side. Any scoring he does on top of this for the Wizards will be considered icing on the cake. 

This is the kind of dirty work that Oubre will be judged by until he's ready for more responsibility.

If he does it, Brooks will keep him on the court.

If he doesn't do it, Oubre knows what will happen. Brooks may be a players' coach, but he won't hesitate to put him on the bench like he did in the loss to the Spurs. And he won't hold a grudge against a player for having a bad game by not giving him a chance to redeem himself, either. 

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Scott Brooks has a simple reason for why Bradley Beal should be an All-Star

Scott Brooks has a simple reason for why Bradley Beal should be an All-Star

WASHINGTON -- Bradley Beal was not picked as a starter for next month's NBA All-Star Game through a voting process that included fans, the media and fellow players. Now it is up to NBA head coaches, who select the seven reserves for each conference.

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks is not allowed to vote for his own player, but believes Beal has a good chance to be picked based on one simple reason. He can tell how much opposing coaches respect Beal each and every night the Wizards play a game.

"Brad's an All-Star. I know that because every night I get to see it. Every night I get to see the defensive schemes against him. He gets double-teamed I want to say every game. That tells me that coaches feel the same way," Brooks said.

Brooks doesn't lobby other coaches to vote for his players, but said others have tried to persuade him in the past. He will "respectfully listen," he says, but believes it is important to do his own research and make his own choices.

"We all take pride in our choice," Brooks said. "It's an elite group and it's hard to get in."

Though Beal isn't a starter, he has a good case for being a reserve. This season he is averaging 28.1 points (third in East), 6.3 assists (10th in East) and 4.5 rebounds per game. 

If Beal doesn't make the All-Star team, it will likely be blamed on the Wizards' record. They are 15-30 and some of his competitors could get credit for being on better teams.

Brooks, though, believes other coaches should consider the circumstances Beal has been in. He says he takes that stuff into account with his own vote.

"There's a lot of factors that go in," Brooks explained. "It's situations. Guys that are on teams that are not playing well... are they not playing well because of him or are they not playing well because they have a lot of young guys, or because they're injured? A lot of players are injured. We've had a lot of injuries this year."

Beal has been an All-Star each of the past two years. We will find out on Thursday if he is in for the third time.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.


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Trae Young joins Kobe Bryant in historic feat against Wizards

Trae Young joins Kobe Bryant in historic feat against Wizards

Following the passing of NBA legend Kobe Bryant on Sunday, emotions were high. 

Many current and former players paid tribute to Bryant, including Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young, who dominated in the Hawks 152-133 win over the Wizards. 

He ended the night with a spectacular performance of 45 points, with 14 assists, making 13-of-24 FGs and 13-of-16 free throws as well as six 3-pointers, six rebounds and one assist. 

Young is the first player to have a 45-point double-double with under 25 field goal attempts against the Washington Wizards, since Kobe Bryant on December 17, 2006.

In honor of his mentor and favorite NBA player, Young wore a No. 8 jersey and took an 8-second-violation after the opening tip. 

He even wore his shoes with a tribute to Bryant as well. 

Young was able to channel his emotions into the game, leaving everything on the floor.

In an emotional night, Young was able to keep himself composed leading the Hawks past the Wizards. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.