Kelly Oubre, Jr. was just eight years old when Dwyane Wade first broke into the NBA with the Miami Heat back in 2003. Oubre had yet to start middle school when Wade won NBA Finals MVP and his first ring in 2006.
So it was no surprise to see Wade have a distinct advantage over Oubre on most of the plays they matched up on Tuesday with Oubre guarding him. Wade is 35 years old and has a lot of wear and tear, but he still has all the tricks of the trade.
Wade scored 22 points against the Wizards. Washington won, but the Heat forced overtime in large part due to Wade's contribution.
With Oubre guarding him, Wade made a series of midrange jumpers. One was from just about seven feet out. He had his back to the basket, faked one way and got the ball just over Oubre's defense to score.
Wade kept Oubre off balance with hesitation moves and shimmies and he left Oubre impressed.
"He’s been playing this game for a really long time," Oubre said on our Wizards Tipoff podcast. "The thing that I’ve noticed with all the great players like him and LeBron [James] specifically is that when they’re on that low post and they’re in their spots that they’ve been in for over 20 years, they don’t even have to look at the rim to make the shot. Even DeMar [DeRozan], my hands were in his face a lot of the times. They don’t even really need to see the rim. They just need like a split second to get the ball up and out of their hands and it’s going to go in."
Oubre realized he has still has plenty to learn about the game of basketball. There is a mental aspect that can be picked up through experience, scouting and preparation.
Wade is a master at it. He has a black-belt in basketball sorcery.
"He doesn’t have the athleticism that he used to have, but he definitely uses his brain," Oubre said. "It’s a great thing to see and it’s a great thing to learn from. It challenged me as a defender to be able to have to guard somebody still quick and smart with their moves. I feel like it was a great test for me to pretty much test my discipline and my IQ."
When head coach Scott Brooks was asked about Oubre's matchup with Wade, he smiled before delivering his answer. As a coach overseeing Oubre's development, he saw some teaching opportunities.
"Some work to be done. That’s a lot of experience," Brooks said. "Kelly is 22 years old and he has to continue to improve on the defensive end. You only do that by playing against really good players. That was another lesson to be learned on a lot of things that Dwyane does."
Oubre can't disagree. He does, however, have one thing he would like to point out. He thinks Wade flopped on a play with 12.9 seconds left in overtime.
Oubre was called for a foul on a Wade three-point attempt in a crucial moment. He held his hand out and it touched Wade on the face. Wade dropped to the ground and got the call.
The Wizards ended up winning and Oubre was able to joke about it afterwards.
"I don’t think I fouled him on that three-pointer. A lot of people were saying that my IQ is low for fouling him. But I don’t think I fouled him. He sold it. I think he saw Kobe win an Oscar and I think he wants one, too. Everybody wants one," he said.
Oubre talked about defending Wade and going up against some of the best players in the NBA on our Wizards Tipoff podcast. You can listen to the episode right here:
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