Paul Pierce starred at the University of Kansas during the 1990's. The future Hall of Famer was the Washington Wizards' starting small forward last season. He'll turn 38 before next season.
Kelly Oubre Jr., 19, just completed his lone campaign with the Jayhawks. After completing a trade with the Atlanta Hawks, the Wizards selected the 3-man in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Perfect world, the old school star mentors the fresh-faced kid, a role Pierce served at times with Otto Porter last season.
"Yeah, and alumni too," Coach Randy Wittman noted shortly after the Wizards selected Oubre 15th overall. "It would be nice to have an old Kansas guy be able to put a foot over a young kid like this and teach him, sure, that would be a great situation."
In the coming days we'll learn if this might happen.
Pierce holds a player option for the 2015-16 season. Recent reports have the Los Angeles native opting out of his final year and eyeing a chance to play for his hometown Clippers. Pierce must let know Washington before July 1 whether he's staying or becoming a free agent, though taking the latter path wouldn't prevent him from staying with the Wizards.
Wittman remains optimistic about the veteran sticking around.
"Yeah, absolutely," he said.
Team president Ernie Grunfeld said Pierce's decision didn't factor into the team selecting another small forward. Washington dealt the 19th overall pick along with second round picks in 2016 and 2019 to Atlanta.
"It didn't have anything to do with Paul's decision," Grunfeld said. "This was completely different. We felt like (Oubre) was the best player on the board. When we had this opportunity, we felt like it was a really good thing for us to do."
The team president and coach took turns speaking with reporters outside the team's practice court, the court Washington worked out prospects ahead of the draft. Nearly 50 players participated in group sessions. The 6-foot-7 Oubre was not one of them even though there was clear interest from the team. Grunfeld said team officials met with Oubre last month during the NBA combine in Chicago.
"We didn't bring him in here because we didn't realistically think we had an opportunity to get a guy like this," Wittman said. "When (the trade) was presented, that's why we jumped on it."
Porter, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 Draft, played heavy minutes during the postseason. The former Georgetown star would likely step into the starting small forward role should Pierce exit, but the depth chart becomes murky from there. The combination of Porter and Pierce would allow Washington to bring Oubre along slowly.
With impressive athleticism and a playmaking style, Oubre oozes potential; ESPN ranked him the No. 11 recruit in the 2014 class, ahead of Ohio State guard D'Angelo Russell, who went second overall to the Los Angeles Lakers. Both Grunfeld and Wittman cautioned about the inexperienced prospect making an immediate impact. Oubre averaged 9.3 points and 21 minutes with Kansas.
The coaching staff will diligently work with the small forward starting next month as the team prepares for the Las Vegas Summer League. We'll know before then whether Oubre gets to learn from Paul Pierce as well.