Kelly Oubre – An elite perimeter defender?


Kelly Oubre could be a defensive game-changer in the NBA. (Photo credit to thehoopdoctors.com)
Kelly Oubre could be a defensive game-changer in the NBA. (Photo credit to thehoopdoctors.com)

Kelly Oubre had an interesting season for the Kansas Jayhawks.

He has a lot of tools that NBA general managers like, but how good could he become?

Here is my take.

I’ll get my comparison out of the way. Oubre reminds me of Wilson Chandler and Tayshaun Prince. Oubre is long, athletic, tattooed, and a defender.

Oubre didn’t average double-digit points (9.3 ppg), but he only played 21 minutes per game. That begs this question: “What were you thinking, Bill Self?”

He started one out of the first nine games, but started the remaining games except for one. I think Self kind of lost his mind a little this season. Oubre has a lot of skills, but I believe he was vastly under-utilized by a great coach.

While he looks wiry, he is wiry-strong. He has shown a tremendous amount of ability and consistency staying in front of bigger opponents and small quicker opponents. His length helps make up for some of the strength he might lack.

I think he could become an elite NBA defender. He has the instincts, and it seems like he enjoys playing defense and making it tough on opponents.

On offense, he is a lefty. I feel like I have profiled a lot of lefties. He doesn’t have the greatest shot mechanics in the world. His shot reminds me a lot of Prince’s shot, and not the singer. He doesn’t cock it as much to the side of his head like Prince, but it’s certainly similar, in my opinion.

He isn’t a terrible offensive player, but I don’t see him becoming a scoring machine, either. He posted three games of 20 points or more, and had 15 games in double figures. He had five games in which he didn’t score a single point. Granted, those games were early in the season when he didn’t play much.

I think he could become a better passer. He accumulated 28 assists this season. Personally, I would like to see his average around 2.0 to 2.5 per game in that category.

He shot 35.8 percent from three. A lot of people don’t know that nearly 36 percent from three is very good in the NBA. I don’t think he will be that good of a shooter in the NBA, at least not right away.

He is a solid athlete. He has good explosiveness and he is a quick jumper. It doesn’t take long for him to elevate.

I would like him to become better at driving to the basket. A lot of his drives are straight-line drives, but it doesn’t always lead him to the basket. If he can improve his stroke and become comfortable with the ball in his hand(s), I think he could become a brand-name player.

However, if making it to the NBA is his only goal, which I’m sure it’s not, but if it is, I could see him flaming out once his rookie contract is up.

He could become the next Kent Bazemore, who might have played himself into a decent-sized contract after he showed flashes in the playoffs for the Atlanta Hawks, though.

I have Oubre headed to Miami with the No. 10 pick in the draft. I’m pretty sure that Luol Deng will not be back with the Heat, and that will open up a spot at small forward.

I think he would be a good fit in Miami. I don’t see him moving up too far in the draft because I don’t think he is better than Stanley Johnson or Justise Winslow. From what I have read, and I have no sources at all, Miami is going to take a long, hard look at him if Johnson and Winslow are off the board. The Heat has Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and Goran Dragic is expected to re-sign. I could also see Miami going after a center, since that is another need for Miami, but it depends on how much money Hassan Whiteside is going to demand. However, I think Oubre would be the best option for Miami.

It will be interesting to see where Oubre ends up.

Wherever he does go, I think he will make a positive impact, and might even become a very good all-around player.

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