So Kelly Oubre knows Kevin Durant, a 2016 free-agent target for the Wizards. So what? The confidence oozes from the No. 15 overall pick in the NBA draft. He makes a point to not get too carried away with reverence of future opponents.
"We're competitors. I go against him," Oubre said in explaining his relationship with the 2013-14 league MVP and multi-time scoring champion of the Oklahoma City Thunder. "I'm not enamored with who he is. He's Kevin Durant. I'm Kelly Oubre. I'm my own person. We go at each other we compete at a high level. At camps, I've been knowing him since I was in high school. He's always, 'What's up, I respect your game.' It's a mutual respect-type deal. We just kept it on that level. Showed love."
Durant posted this on Instagram about Oubre and welcomed his "homeboy" to the "big boy league."
Oubre is a 6-7 two-way player who is projected to need some seasoning to realize his full potential. He was a top 10 player coming out of Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) but he started slow start in his only season with the Kansas Jayhawks. What was most important, however, was his strong finish.
"I had a lot of guys go in front of me I know I'm better than," Oubre said of the other 14 players picked in the lottery. "I'm pretty confident I can say that."
Oubre was introduced at Verizon Center on Friday and was flanked by Wizards coach Randy Wittman and president Ernie Grunfeld, both of whom believe he will take time to acclimate to the NBA. One of his college coaches at Kansas, assistant Kurt Townsend, told CSNwashington.com that Oubre would need about two years. Oubre is already pushing the envelope.
"I have a burning sensation in my heart to be good at what I do, or even great," said Oubre. "So I'm going to work. I have 100 percent confidence that I can fulfill my potential at the next level."
The Wizards see Oubre's attitude, upbringing and hard-nosed work ethic as icing on the cake. Oubre was humbled at Kansas when he initially didn't start and appeared to fall short of the "next Andrew Wiggins" label. But the way he handled constructive criticism and responded was the key when adding in his physical gifts such as a 7-2 wingspan.
"I don't determine playing time. These guys determine playing time. I'm going to play guys that deserve to play, that show they're ready to play. I want that," Wittman said of Oubre's determination to be ready sooner than expected. "You never know the situation. It's different. You can go down the line. John Wall and Bradley Beal proved that they were ready to go right away. Otto Porter took a year. ... If he's ready to play, he's going to play. If not, we're going to work with him.
"That's not this make or break on what this kid is going go end up being. (It's not about) what he does his first year in the league."
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