Kelly Oubre, Jr. keeps taking his game to new heights. On Friday night against the Pistons he set a new career-high with 26 points and tied a personal best with five threes.
Though Oubre is not a starter, he produces like one. He is the Wizards' third-leading scorer since Thanksgiving. That's 28 games, or slightly more than a third of a full, 82-game season.
Oubre has reached double figures in points this season in 28 of his 46 games. He's dropped 15 points or more in four straight and has hit multiple threes in each of his last seven.
Oubre's three-point percentage on the season is now up to 40.5 percent, way up from his 28.7 clip from a year ago and he is starting to separate himself from other NBA bench players. Only three reserves are averaging at least 12 points per game and shoot at least 40 percent from three. It's Oubre, Lou Williams of the Clippers and Nikola Mirotic of the Bulls.
What he's doing is also rare for his age. Only five players 22 or younger are shooting 40 percent or better from beyond the arc this season with at least 100 attempts and Oubre is one of them.
Oubre is still capable of making mistakes from inexperience, ones that frustrate head coach Scott Brooks. There have been several instances this season where Oubre has made the wrong decision based on clock and score awareness. Like many young players, he sometimes gambles on defense and pays for it.
But those errors are becoming few and far between. Oubre is playing well beyond his years and is making an impact on both ends of the floor. Perhaps most importantly, his development is giving the Wizards options both in the short-term and the long-term.
The Wizards' starting lineup has not been nearly as consistent as it was last season. Though they beat the Pistons on Friday, Brooks has hinted at changes if their issues continue.
John Wall and Bradley Beal are having seasons worthy of All-Star recognition. Meanwhile, Otto Porter has been hot and cold, Markieff Morris is averaging just 10.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game and Marcin Gortat has seen his minutes go up and down. Oubre gives Brooks multiple options if he does want to shake up their starting lineup.
In the big picture, Oubre's development gives the Wizards flexablity. He's making just $2 million this season and $3 million the next. That is far lower than what Porter ($24.7M), Morris ($8M) and Gortat ($12.8M) are getting paid. If the Wizards wanted to turn to Oubre, they could save significant money with a trade.
The Wizards may keep Oubre right where he is, on their bench as the sixth man. But if they want to make a change, either big or small, he has given them more options than they had just months ago.