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Kelly Oubre, Jr. continues to step up for Wizards in series against Raptors

Kelly Oubre, Jr. continues to step up for Wizards in series against Raptors

All along as Kelly Oubre, Jr. wilted from the three-point line down the stretch of the regular season, his head coach Scott Brooks would deflect the attention to other areas of his game. Brooks was sending a message to his young forward that he can still make an impact in other ways, and as long as he did Brooks would overlook the shooting woes.

Through four games in the Wizards-Raptors series, Brooks' mantra with Oubre has proven prescient. Just like the Wizards as a team, Oubre has his swagger back and for him it's had nothing to do with hitting threes.

Oubre was a sparkplug in both Games 3 and 4 as the Wizards earned consecutive victories to send the series back to Toronto locked at 2-2. Game 4 on Sunday night well illustrated just how effective Oubre can be even if he isn't scoring.

Oubre had 10 points and shot 2-for-6 from the field, a modest scoring night. He did everything else well.

Oubre drew two offensive fouls, notched two steals, grabbed give rebounds and dished two assists. He was aggressive attacking the rim and earned seven free throw attempts as his reward.

Oubre was personally most pleased with forcing turnovers. In true Oubre fashion, he offered a unique explanation why.

"Yeah, man. You got to be different. I'm just trying to be different, man. Trying to get extra possessions for my teammates," he said.

Oubre's defense was essential in Game 4. He helped hold DeMar DeRozan to just 10 field goals on 29 attempts. Though DeRozan ended up with 35 points, he needed to attempt 18 free throws to get there.

The Wizards can live with DeRozan scoring a lot of points, even 35, if he shoots 34.5 percent from the field. He also had four turnovers.

Oubre's most important moments came in the final five minutes of the game. Star shooting guard Bradley Beal fouled out with 4:58 remaining and Brooks had nowhere else to turn. Tomas Satoransky's role has been diminished in the playoffs, Ty Lawson gives up size on defense and Jodie Meeks, the primary backup shooting guard for most of the season, is suspended.

Oubre was contributing all night, so Brooks put him in there alongside John Wall, Otto Porter, Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat. It worked.

Wall scored eight of their final 14 points as the Wizards closed out the victory, but Oubre did several things to help seal it. He hit three free throws, grabbed a rebound and stole the ball from Kyle Lowry with 12 seconds to go and dribbled it out.

Two of Oubre's free throws came with 22.5 seconds left and they extended the Wizards' lead to 104-96. He was fouled in the final second of the shot clock and the Raptors called a timeout, perhaps hoping to ice him.

After the team gathered, Oubre walked to halfcourt to wait for the break to end. Veteran Jason Smith, who did not appear in the game, walked out to chat with him. 

Smith stood next to Oubre and gave him an extended pep talk. He sensed the moment and knew Oubre needed to calm his nerves.

Smith led Oubre through deep breaths to slow everything down. Oubre nodded his head and followed along, then he knocked down both shots.

"I've been there before," Smith said. "I've gotta stay active and impact the game any way I can. That was my little tidbit."

Oubre was clutch for the Wizards when they needed him most and got some sage advice as he helped the Wizards push over the finish line.

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MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

BEAL FOULING OUT NEARLY CHANGED THE ENTIRE SERIES

WALL WAS DUNKING ALL OVER RAPTORS BIG MEN

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM GAME 4 WIN

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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jerome Robinson

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jerome Robinson

The Washington Wizards hold the 15th and 44th overall picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select...

2018 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Jerome Robinson

School: Boston College
Position: Shooting guard
Age: 21
Height: 6-5
Weight: 188
Wingspan: 6-7
Max vertical: N/A

2017/18 stats: 20.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.1 bpg, 48.5 FG%, 40.9 3PT% (2.3 3PT/5.7 3PA), 83.0 FT%
Player comparison: Danny Green
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 29th, NBADraft.net 16th, Bleacher Report 19th, Sports Illustrated 17th

5 things to know:

*A three-year player at BC, Robinson developed into a big-time scorer before making the leap to the NBA. He averaged 18.7 points as a sophomore and then 20.7 points as a junior while improving his shooting percentages across the board. He went from 42.3 percent from the field as a sophomore to 48.5 in 2017-18.

*Robinson turned himself into an excellent three-point shooter. After shooting just 33.3 percent as a sophomore, he got that up to 40.9 percent as a junior and on 5.7 attempts per game. That trajectory bodes well for Robinson's chances at the next level.

*He has a quick release on his jumper, giving him the ability to be effective on catch-and-shoot plays off screens. Robinson could develop into a reliable scorer who doesn't need the ball in his hands as a primary focus of the offense. He also showed the ability to throw down some powerful dunks and finish with creativity at the rim. He didn't record a vertical leap at the NBA Combine, but playing above and around the rim didn't appear to be a problem in college.

*Though it didn't show in his last season at Boston College, Robinson was adept at forcing turnovers in his first two years. He averaged 1.6 steals per game across his freshman and sophomore seasons and 16 times in his career had three steals or more in a game.

*Questions for Robinson would include his versatility and speed. Some draft evaluators wonder if he will be able to get separation off the dribble at the NBA level. Also, he put up decent rebounding and assists numbers in college but didn't exactly stand out in either category.

Fit with Wizards: Robinson would give the Wizards depth at the shooting guard position and they need that. He could help Bradley Beal pare down his minutes and offer a scoring punch off the Wizards' bench. The Wizards could use a reliable shooter to help space the floor for Kelly Oubre, Jr. and others in the second unit.

The problems with Robinson's fit would be his lack of positional versatility and what appears to be a relatively low ceiling. He's not the freak athlete that some of his counterparts are at shooting guard. If the Wizards are choosing between Robinson and guys like Zhaire Smith and Lonnie Walker IV, they could view the latter two as more enticing because of their potential. Robinson would represent a safer pick while others could pay off big-time and have a greater impact on the franchise in the long-term.

Best highlight video:

More draft prospect profiles:

Kevin Knox, PF, Kentucky

Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

Landry Shamet, PG/SG, Wichita State

Gary Trent, Jr., SG, Duke

Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, IMG Academy

Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State

Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland

Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky

Troy Brown, SG/SF, Oregon

Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan

Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State

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

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Draft prospect profiles on Moe Wagner, Michael Porter, Jr., Grayson Allen and more

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Draft prospect profiles on Moe Wagner, Michael Porter, Jr., Grayson Allen and more

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes was joined by Nick Ashooh and Stefon Marquis to talk NBA Draft. 

They broke down five prospects and their potential fit with the Wizards: Moe Wagner of Michigan, Michael Porter, Jr. of Missouri, Grayson Allen of Duke, Collin Sexton of Alabama and Omari Spellman of Villanova.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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