Oh, Bruh: Wizards Draft Kelly Oubre and Aaron White
After moving up to 15th overall pick, the Wizards went all hypothetically 3-and-D with Kelly Oubre, formerly of Bill Self’s Kansas Jayhawks. In order to move up, Washington traded their 19th overall pick and two future 2nd round picks (2016 and 2019) to the Hawks. Oubre, who is reportedly 6’7 with a 7’2 wingspan and smooth shooting mechanics, was a top-10 recruit heading into Kansas, but didn’t nail down a starting spot until late December, when he committed to consistent defense and eventually shepherded Kansas to a conference championship.
When Oubre stepped down from the Barclays Center stage wearing an Atlanta Hawks hat and gold-spiked slippers into the awkward embrace of a “you’ve been traded” question from ESPN, he delivered an outrageously confident set of takes despite the confusion about his eventual destination.
“Whoever gets me is getting a jewel, you know what I mean? “I feel like I’m a steal in this draft. I’m ready to win a championship. And whatever team gets me, we’re winning a championship, and I’m ready to put the work in to do so.”
And all night, he never really stopped. Unlike the decidedly jejune Otto Porter and Bradley Beal, who just barely flashed the kind of personality they’ve eventually evinced with the Wizards on their respective draft nights, Oubre was, from the jump, fired up. He told Monumental’s Dan Nolan “I’m definitely bleeding Wizard blood.” He told Comcast’s Chris Miller “The city will definitely love me.”
Of course, he also made mention of what appears to be limitless “swag,” which is a word I understand because I am cool (lie) and not old (another lie). Before you sigh an interminable sigh that when run through a codebreaker sounds a lot like “Nick Young,” stop. This isn’t the NFL draft. NBA rookies don’t have their teenage hubris fried out of them like the bygone nutrients of a now-palatable potato. And that’s fine. Good teams absorb characters into their DNA, making room for a player’s personality within the structure and veteran hierarchy of the locker room.
There’s probably no non-injury situation, or amount of confidence, that gets Oubre into the starting lineup on opening night. This is Randy Wittman’s team, after all, and if Paul Pierce decides to sign elsewhere, the 3 will belong to Otto Porter, who has paid two years of steep, splintered dues. Point is: there’ll be plenty of time for the kid to have introspective, humbling self-reflections after getting sonned in practice by actual NBA players. Moments after becoming a millionaire, it’s OK to pledge undying allegiance to yourself, probably.
Comcast SportsNet’s J. Michael spoke with Kansas assistant coach Kurt Townsend, who said:
“I recruited Bradley Beal for four years, recruited John Wall. I know those guys. He’s a high character guy. They’ll really like him. He never got into any trouble off the court at all. He really wants to be good. He’s a great kid.”
Oubre’s jump shot is smooth, his release point is high, and his mechanics are good. He shot 36 percent on 3-pointers last season at Kansas, but should improve much like Bradley Beal did (34% in his lone season at the University of Florida) due to his already-polished form. Randy Wittman, sly and modern cad that he is, even suggested that Oubre could slide between the 2, 3, and 4 in the new, increasingly positionless, toy soldier NBA. Any player drafted 15th overall has weaknesses, and Wizards fans will become intimately familiar with those possessed by Oubre over the next several years.
There’s a chance that team president Ernie Grunfeld may have been overthinking things when he traded up for Oubre, especially since another Wizards target, playmaking power forward Bobby Portis, ended up being available at Washington’s original draft slot. But Grunfeld, man of vision and team president for life, saw a 3-man rotation of Beal, Porter, and Oubre in Washington’s future.
But what about Aaron White, the free throw-drawing, kinda-3-point shooting meta-stretch 4 from Iowa that the Wizards drafted with the 49th overall pick? Grunfeld told media after the draft that it will be up to White whether he stays with Washington or plays overseas this season. White worked out for the Wizards back on June 18th, and the Wizards were apparently impressed enough with him that they thought he was worth the team’s second round pick. Although White fits a need as a shooting big man, the Wizards still probably want to plan on filling that need via trade or free agency while White develops in D.C. or abroad. Here’s a bonny tweet:
Thank you so much!!!! Blessed to be apart of the @WashWizards !!!!!
— Aaron White (@Aaron_White30) June 26, 2015
Long live the Draft.