That the Wizards were able to move up by sacrificing future second-round picks in Thursday night's draft wasn't that much of a surprise, but their choice of Kansas' Kelly Oubre raised some eyebrows since he was so far off the radar.
Wizards coach Randy Wittman said it was an easy decision, giving up second-round picks in 2016 and 2019 and swapping their 19th spot for the No. 15 spot with the Atlanta Hawks.
Along with president Ernie Grunfeld, Wittman confirmed what Kansas assistant coach Kurt Townsend told CSNwashington.com earlier in the night: Oubre won't necessarily pay dividends right away but can be special.
"Everybody sees his upside. He’s not a finished product by any means," Townsend said via phone. "His best years are probably three years from now. He got a lot better. He came in, it was an adjustment for him learning how to guard at the college level. Once he started going, he helped us win a lot of games. He can be a big-time defensive player because of his length and stuff."
Oubre is a 6-7 small forward with exceptional athleticism and played just one season for the Jayhawks. He will be expected to defend multiple positions but offensively he has work to do. He has been training with guru Drew Hanlen to work on his shot mechanics.
"He was able to get around people and finish around the rim in high school," Townsend said. "He had to adjust in college. That's why he's two or three years away."
Oubre was a top 15 prospect coming out of high school but didn't immediately start for Kansas coach Bill Self. He handled the hard coaching and constructing criticism well, a must for a pro who has much to learn.
"Kelly handled it unbelievably. Just started working hard, started to listen and it ended up working out for him," Townsend said. "He’s a winner. He hates to lose. Great teammate. The guys here loved him.
"I recruited Bradley Beal for four years, recruited John Wall. I know those guys. He’s a high character guy. They’ll really like him. He never got into any trouble off the court at all. He really wants to be good. He’s great kid."