The last shot attempt Kelly Oubre took, his seventh, ended like all of the rest Friday. It clanged off the rim and the rookie failed to register a point in his first appearance in a preseason game. Still, the confidence isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
"It actually felt good to get out there and play with the official jersey on my back," said Oubre, 19, who sat out the preseason opener because of a sore right ankle but played 25 minutes vs. the New York Knicks. "That was a slow start but we have, what, 100 more? I'm cool. We had a little fall today but it's cool.
"I went 0-for-7. Nothing went. I'm cool. I got my jitters out the way."
The toughest part for any rookie, especially one with only one year of college, is getting used to the style of play.
"The pace, running up and down trying to make sure all my mechanics were tight, that was one of the toughest things for me," Oubre said. "I'm confident. I'm not down. It was a good learning experience."
That's exactly what John Wall's take was on what made it so difficult for Oubre, who the Wizards traded up to get in June in a deal with the Atlanta Hawks. He was chosen 15th overall.
"He'll be alright. First game trying to get in the flow with the second unit. ... It's all about getting committed to play at this type of game speed. Practice is totally different than when you're competing against somebody else," Wall said. "I think he learned that tonight. It's going to be an up and down year for him but that's what we're here for to talk to him as veterans and trying to get him through the tough process."
Derrick Williams exploded for a game-high 23 points for New York, which won 115-104. Oubre took responsibility for his part in helping him break out.
"We made some mental errors, myself included. I let D-Will get backdoor on that lob," Oubre said. "He set me up for that one. That doesn't happen. That can't happen in a game for us to be an elite defending team so we have to hone in on defense and make sure that's a main priority."
While Wittman was tough on his team for its overall lack of defensive commitment and he could be seen chewing out Oubre after a blown rotation, he's not reading too much into a game that doesn't count.
"Typical, first game rookie jitters. I think his body was way ahead of his mind tonight, which happens," Wittman said. "I'm glad for him that he got that first game out of the way and let's see where he comes back."
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