The Phoenix Suns Trevor Ariza to the Washington Wizards for Kelly Oubre Jr. Let’s get to know the newest member of the team.
After a lot of drama, chaos, or whatever you want to call it when a 3 team trade happened but didn’t happen and one player will be made a free agent, the deal is essentially this: Trevor Ariza for Kelly Oubre Jr. (also known as Tsunami Papi).
The Suns actually won a deal. Wait, did I just say that? Yeah. They nailed this deal. Hands down. Yes, Trevor Ariza is better right now. He’s also an older vet. Kelly Oubre is a young, promising player that’s already become a decent player and fits better on this team.
No, the Suns didn’t get a point guard – their main need. Yes, Oubre was originally going to Memphis, and Phoenix preferred it that way. But, that’s when the team (for whatever reason) thought we were going to get Dillon Brooks from the Memphis Grizzlies instead of MarShon Brooks.
I like the prospect of Oubre. I really do. He’s a long, athletic, and strong wing defender with great speed and solid explosion. Throw in a 7-2 wing span and he becomes very intriguing.
He brings effort and energy every night. As someone said, his all is all he knows how to give. Think of Richaun Holmes‘ ethic and drive being put in a wing’s body. Smiling yet? I am. He has gotten better every season in the NBA so far.
This season he’s got a 43-31-80 shooting line and is averaging 12.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 0.7 blocks with only 1 turnover in 26 minutes per game. Included are career highs in field goals made, attempted, field goal percentage, points, and blocks. His rebounds and steals are also both just 0.1 points away from tying career highs as well.
The three point shooting has fallen a little bit from last season, but it’s not bad. In 2017-18, he made 1.6 triples on 34.1 percent accuracy. This season, he’s making 1.4 treys on 31.1 percent accuracy.
The 15th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft (2 selections after Devin Booker) just turned 23 years old a little over a week ago. Note that Oubre played at Kansas and Booker at Kentucky, so 2 former rivals are now teammates. That should make for some fun competition in itself.
When looking at his stats, keep this in mind: The Washington Wizards have John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter Jr on board. It’s not a stretch to say he could be a lot better than he’s been able to show playing in three shadows.
In seven games this season decided by five points or fewer, Oubre has put up a 52-47-92 shooting line, made 2.4 threes, and averaged 15.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. In 6 games prior to the Suns acquiring him, he was putting up a 51-41-79 shooting line, making 1.8 threes, and averaging 17.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 0.8 blocks.
He can step up when needed and has shown signs of a very bright future. Being that he’ll be a restricted free agent after this season, we have him on a contract year and with full control in retaining him. That’s a very nice position to be in.
Something I like to do when looking at young player’s potential is what I call the “25 percent rule”. You take a quarter of the games the player has participated in and then look at his career highs over those games. So, for example, in scoring it would be his top points scored in a quarter of games played. Same for rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, etc. It gives you a good idea of what they’re capable of.
In Oubre’s case, he’s played in 270 games so 25 percent of that is 67.5 games. We’ll round up to 68. That would put his potential at around 16.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.1 steals, and 1.2 blocks. Intriguing to say the least.
With a good handle, burst, and finish, he is a tough, physical player that loves to drive to the rim and finish strong. It’s rare for a wing, but he takes many of his shots at the rim. 41 percent of his shot attempts this season have been at the rim. He will be fun to watch.
His shooting will improve, especially under Igor Kokoskov. Look how much he helped T.J. Warren. Oubre has a quick release and is always ready to fire. He just needs to hit. At this point, he’s a slasher, but he is an improving shooter and has the potential to become a good one.
Defensively, he’s a pest, and his edge is something else. He is among the league leaders in deflections and will fit right in on this team’s style and contribute right away.
Welcome aboard, Kelly Oubre. Fans will learn to love his name. This quote was a great start:
Bring it on, young fella.