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What to Expect from Kelly Oubre in the NBA

Kelly Oubre, the latest Kansas Jayhawks draft pick, has found an NBA home. He is now be taking his unique skill set to Washington, D.C.

The Washington Wizards saw the chance to get Kelly Oubre and they took it, trading with the Atlanta Hawks and jumping to the 15th pick to select the Kansas forward. After watching Oubre through his lone season at Kansas, here is how the Jayhawk draftee can make an impact on the next level:


Oubre was a good defender at KU and a solid candidate for the Big 12 All-Defense team.  His 7’2” wingspan, paired with excellent lateral quickness, gives him the potential to be a lethal defender in the NBA. Much like former Jayhawk and 2015 NBA Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins, Oubre is able to recover and contest shots even when he’s beaten off the dribble. While at Kansas, he was fifth in the Big 12 in steal rate at 3.6%, and Oubre is very skilled in areas that are often overlooked when a player isn’t filling up a stat sheet with steals and blocks.


Another of Oubre’s huge strengths is his ability to rebound. Next to Cliff Alexander, Oubre was the Jayhawks’ best rebounder last season. His length is a huge factor once again, but he also showed good fundamentals last year while boxing out opponents. As a wing, Oubre is an absolutely top-of-the-line rebounder.


Oubre has found decent success with his shot, shooting 36% from three last year. His jump shot was at its best while spotting up, so it’s great for him to be playing alongside John Wall. He will need to work on his range to thrive at the next level, but he’s starting with an advantage by playing with one of the best point guards in the NBA.

Oubre’s biggest strength with the ball is his ability to penetrate. Oubre shot 60.3% at the rim last season, and his length allows him to dunk instead of relying on layups.


Kelly Oubre’s role on the Wizards will likely be as a backup forward. However, if Paul Pierce decides to leave D.C., Oubre would be fighting with Otto Porter for a starting spot. Oubre has a chance to develop into a solid 3-and-D guy off the bench, or he could begin his career by filling a hole in the lineup, depending on how this offseason unfolds.

Wizards Fan Reaction

When I looked around the internet after the Atlanta-to-Washington trade was announced, Wizards fans seemed to like the Oubre pick. Many fans were thrilled with the unexpected addition, while a few were worried about the high risk that comes with Oubre’s high ceiling. The best-case scenario hope for Washington is that Oubre becomes the D.C. version of another 15th overall pick, San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard.

The real hope for Oubre is in the future. He has the tools to become a Leonard or Jimmy Butler level of star, or he could end up settling a Harrison Barnes type of role player who can defend well and shoot decently. To reach his full potential, Oubre will need to improve his consistency – look at his home vs. away numbers in conference play – as well as his ball handling, especially with his off-hand. Oubre will need a little time to get adjusted to the next level, much like he did at Kansas. However, his athleticism should allow him to keep up with the pace of play and have a decent impact towards the end of the season for the Wizards. His ceiling is extremely high, so don’t get discouraged if it takes him a little while to become fully accustomed to professional talent and speed. Washington fans have a lot to be excited about, because a backcourt with John Wall, Bradley Beal and Kelly Oubre is one of the most promising in the NBA.

Dylan King

Staff writer for Rock Chalk Blog.

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