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Morning tip: Kelly Oubre doesn't crack under pressure


Morning tip: Kelly Oubre doesn't crack under pressure

Kelly Oubre may be cocky but he's not overconfident. And despite his modest stat lines coming off the bench for the Wizards, the rookie is good and everyone around him knows it, too.

He started five games when Otto Porter was hurt, with averages of 8.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 75% shooting from three-point range. When Porter had to leave midway though the third quarter of Wednesday's 106-101 win vs. the Milwaukee Bucks when he hurt his right hip, Oubre came through like he always does.

The Wizards had lost a 19-point lead entering the fourth quarter, but Oubre sparked the comeback as their defense forced 12 turnovers in the final 12 minutes. He had just five points and two steals in nine minutes but in that limited time the 6-7 forward showed again why the Wizards moved up to trade for the No. 15 pick.

All five of his points came in the first 1:40 of the fourth and accounted for almost half of the Wizards' 12-0 run. Oubre's first shot was a corner three that he swished for a 78-74 lead. For the season, he's 40.4% from three-point range which is a part of his game that was expected to take longer to evolve given he'd only played one year in college and has to shoot from a greater distance.

"It started on defense though. He started off with a deflection and steal then he came down, hit a three. He was teriffic. Some free throws, too, for us that were pretty big," said shooting guard Bradley Beal, who was playing in his first game since Dec. 9, of Oubre's effort. "We need Kelly to continue to be aggressive. He has that swagger about himself, a little cockiness. It's what we need. It's awesome. We're going to continue to let him go."

Milwaukee was able to get 6-10 Giannis Antetokounmpo in mismatches against the Wizards' backcourt to make their third-quarter run. Oubre, who has a 7-2 wingspan and exceptional athleticism, sat and watched from the bench. 

Maybe the Wizards (18-19) could've headed them off with Oubre drawing that assignment on switches instead of John Wall, Ramon Sessions and Beal being stuck with Antetokounmpo, who used his size advantage in isolations to get to the rim.

"Kelly came in and helped change that with his activity at the defensive end," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said of his team's lack of energy in the third. "We had 15 deflections in the fourth quarter alone. ... Kelly gave us a great lift."

This snapshot is an indication of why Oubre can't be an after-thought. He's ready.

Unlike a lot of young players, he doesn't pout when he doesn't get the playing time or obsess over offense. As soon as he checked in a game with the Miami Heat on Jan.3, he stripped Goran Dragic and Luol Deng of the ball though he only was credited with one steal. There was the three-point shot to beat the halftime buzzer on Jan. 1 to give the Wizards a five-point lead against the Orlando Magic. 

When Oubre was first inserted in Wednesday's game with Milwaukee in the final 27 seconds of the third quarter, his 40-foot three-point shot at the buzzer was waved off. Then he picked up where he left off when he sparked the Wizards' run to their third win in a row.

He played 15 minutes in a Jan. 9 game with Orlando and was content to not get up a shot. In the second quarter of a game earlier this week, a win vs. the Chicago Bulls, Oubre had two points and two blocks in 15 minutes. The first block was a chasedown of Nikola Mirotic late in the second quarter to keep the Wizards up by double digits going into halftime.

In a 17-point loss to the L.A. Clippers on Dec. 28, the ball was thrown ahead to Oubre to get an insignificant dunk at the buzzer. He dribbled out the clock instead, realizing that the team played terrible at home and that there was no point in padding the boxscore with empty numbers. It's a decision that a mature player makes, not a 20-year-old who is about self.

He can be confident and cocky without compromising the integrity of the team. And if that means sacrificing points for the greater good, then so be it. It's a trait in Oubre that Nene, who can be unrelenting when young players are hard-headed and don't listen, respects very much.

"He did it. He was ready. He came in a (difficult) time. He demanded it. He just showed his personality on that hard foul," Nene said of when Oubre was hacked by Michael Carter-Williams to prevent a dunk and calmly sank both foul shots to open the fourth vs. Milwaukee. "That actually put us back in the game."

And more often than not, Oubre should be in the game.

MORE WIZARDS: Wizards could have Marcin Gortat back this weekend

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2018 NBA Draft: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

2018 NBA Draft: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

The 2018 NBA Draft will take place on Thursday night as the newest wave of potential superstars like DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Mo Bamba and Luka Doncic enter the league. Here is everything you need to know for the big night...


When: 7 p.m.
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
Live stream: WatchESPN.com
Radio: ESPN

Wizards draft picks: 15th overall in the first round, 44th overall in the second round

First round order:

1. Phoenix Suns
2. Sacramento Kings
3. Atlanta Hawks
4. Memphis Grizzlies
5. Dallas Mavericks
6. Orlando Magic
7. Chicago Bulls
8. Cleveland Cavaliers
9. New York Knicks
10. Philadelphia 76ers
11. Charlotte Hornets
12. Los Angeles Clippers
13. Los Angeles Clippers
14. Denver Nuggets
15. Washington Wizards
16. Phoenix Suns
17. Milwaukee Bucks
18. San Antonio Spurs
19. Atlanta Hawks
20. Minnesota Timberwolves
21. Utah Jazz
22. Chicago Bulls
23. Indiana Pacers
24.Portland Trail Blazers
25. Los Angeles Lakers
26. Philadelphia 76ers
27. Boston Celtics
28. Golden State Warriors
29. Brooklyn Nets
30. Atlanta Hawks

Top prospects:

1. DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona
2. Marvin Bagley III, Duke
3. Luka Doncic, Slovenia
4. Jaren Jackson, Jr., Michigan State
5. Mo Bamba, Texas
6. Michael Porter, Jr., Missouri
7. Wendell Carter, Duke
8. Trae Young, Oklahoma
9. Collin Sexton, Alabama
10. Kevin Knox, Kentucky

Three things to watch...

Will Leonard get traded?

Last year's draft featured some big trades including Jimmy Butler going to the Timberwolves. This year, there seems to be at least a decent chance it happens with Kawhi Leonard of the Spurs. He wants a trade and they have been meeting with him in recent days, perhaps for a last-ditch pitch to remain with the team. If he gets dealt on draft night, it wouldn't be a huge surprise.

Who will the Kings pick?

A consensus has built for Ayton to go No. 1 to the Suns. After that, it's a major crapshoot and whomever the Kings select will produce a domino effect from there on down. Will they take Bagley, the safe pick, or go a riskier route with Doncic or maybe even Porter, Jr.? The best bet at this point appears to be Bagley, but nobody truly knows.

Where will Young and Porter, Jr. go?

The two most interesting prospects in this draft are Young and Porter, Jr. Young was a sensation in college basketball, but is undersized and appears to be boom-or-bust. He could flame out quickly at the next level or be some iteration of the next Stephen Curry. Porter, Jr. played only three games in college due to a back injury and now has hip issues as well. His talent is undeniable, but his injury history represents significant risk.


For more on the NBA Draft, check out our preview special episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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2018 NBA Draft: A list of Green Room attendees

USA Today Sports

2018 NBA Draft: A list of Green Room attendees

The NBA officially announced a list of 20 players invited to the Green Room at the 2018 NBA Draft. Provided that all attend, here's a list of who'll be there.

  • Miles Bridges, Michigan State
  • Mikal Bridges, Villanova
  • Marvin Bagley III, Duke
  • Mohamed Bamba, Texas
  • Collin Sexton, Alabama
  • Jaren Jackson Jr., Michigan State
  • Lonnie Walker IV, Miami
  • Donte DiVincenzo, Villanova
  • Zhaire Smith, Texas Tech
  • Aaron Holiday, UCLA
  • Deandre Ayton, Arizona
  • Wendell Carter Jr., Duke
  • Luka Doncic, Slovenia
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kentucky
  • Kevin Knox, Kentucky
  • Michael Porter Jr., Missouri
  • Robert Williams, Texas A&M
  • Trae Young, Oklahoma
  • Chandler Hutchison, Boise State
  • Jerome Robinson, Boston College

There are two players each invited from Villanova, Michigan State, Duke and Kentucky.

The 2018 NBA Draft will be Thursday, June 21 at 7 p.m. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. It will be broadcast on ESPN and streamed live on WatchESPN. The Wizards have Nos. 15 and 44 picks.