Kelly Oubre, Jr.
Playing Style: Defense and Athleticism
Height w/ Shoes: 6' 6.75"
Wingspan: 7' 2.25"
Max Vertical: 37.0
Standing Reach: 8' 6.5"
Draft Express: 13th (Phoenix)
CBS Sports: 12th (Utah)
SB Nation: 17th (Milwaukee)
HoopsHype (USA Today): 15th (Atlanta)
Paul Coro (AZ Central): 10th (Miami)
Kelly Oubre was the successor at small forward to Andrew Wiggins at Kansas, and while he stumbled out of the gate and ultimately fell short of the lofty (if not unfair) expectations, he measures out as a prototypical wing prospect for today's NBA.
His brief career at Kansas was rather tumultuous. Oubre got off on the wrong foot with coach Bill Self, then settled into his role as the season progressed, before finally suffering an embarrassing second-round defeat in the NCAA Tournament to Wichita State.
Although the Phoenix Suns happen to be a bit clogged at the wing positions these days, it would be very difficult to pass on Oubre's potential should he still be available for the 13th pick.
Oubre has the length and skills to be a terror on defense. His wingspan has grown to near-Kawhi levels at over 7'2. This, combined with his fleetness of foot, enables him to cover huge chunks of the court and contest shots that would otherwise be wide open. He also shows excellent ability at containing dribble penetration, moving his feet well while using his nightmarish arms to swallow up shot attempts and passing lanes. His 2.1 steals per 40 minutes ranked 1st among the DraftExpress top 100 small forwards.
His length and agility also make him a formidable presence on the boards, where he grabbed 9.4 rebounds per 40 minutes.
Oubre is a bit of a mixed bag on offense at this point, but he already has good instincts and ability in transition. He runs the floor extremely well and has a knack for weaving through traffic without the ball, similar to Suns' rookie T.J. Warren. While he struggles to create offense in the halfcourt, he is quick and explosive enough to take advantage of an open lane when he spots one. His jumper is still coming along (35.8% from 3) but he shows nice form and a fairly quick release. Expect him to develop into a reliable spotup shooter fairly early in his career.
Here he talks about his zeal for defense, and his appreciation for guys like Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard. (Also, check out his jumper)
Oubre reportedly drew the ire of Kansas coach Bill Self early in the season due to his uneven effort, leading to questions about his motor and ability to be a self-starter (no pun intended). He played his way out of the doghouse as the season wore on, however.
His offensive game will need some serious elbow grease if he ever wants to be more than a defensive specialist. His jumper flattens out when he shoots off the dribble, and he is noticeably uncomfortable with the ball in his hands in the halfcourt, where he tends to either fire away prematurely or awkwardly pound the ball, often to poor results.
Put simply, his ballhandling ability will remind Suns fans of Gerald Green.
Complicating matters, the southpaw has no apparent dexterity with his off hand at this point, either when dribbling or shooting near the rim, which compromises his finishing ability. He also seems to lack the basic instincts for playing within an offense, oftentimes badly failing to recognize open shooters and generally putting on his own improv show. As a result, he compiled more turnovers than assists at Kansas.
Fit on the Suns
Ryan McDonough has expressed a certain lack of enthusiasm for drafting 13th, hinting numerous times about the possibility of trading out of the first round altogether. If the idea of another mouth to feed is unappealing to the Suns, Oubre might be the perfect choice if he is still available. As skilled as he is defensively, his shortcomings on offense are significant enough that it wouldn't be reasonable to expect any fireworks out of the gate.
Despite the logjam at small forward with Warren, P.J. Tucker, Marcus Morris and maybe even Danny Granger, Oubre would be an intriguing possibility for the Suns at 13th. While Kansas might have expected too much too soon out of the youngster, perhaps he would experience better success with a reduced set of responsibilities. If his jumper is as NBA-ready as it appears, he might be able to contribute right away as an athletic 3-and-D wing off the bench. Asking for anything more than that, at least for his first year, is probably asking way too much.
Out of the draftees projected in the Suns' range, Oubre might be the most gifted as well as the least polished. While he isn't as much a long-term project as an Archie Goodwin, he'll probably need more time to adjust than a T.J. Warren.
This would be a swing-for-the-fences pick, but it's rare for a player with these kinds of physical tools to be available in the bog of the late-lottery.
My two cents: Swing away.
All stats courtesy of DraftExpress.com