A statistical dive into Kelly Oubre as a member of the Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns Kelly Oubre (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns Kelly Oubre (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns, Kelly Oubre
Phoenix Suns Kelly Oubre (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Fresh off the most prolific scoring game of his career and days from hearing his name discussed at the NBA trade deadline, let’s take a close look at Kelly Oubre Jr, his improvement, and future with the Phoenix Suns.

The Phoenix Suns are still in the evaluation stage of their latest rebuild. The organization feels it has two current and/or future stars on their roster in Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. Of course, Ayton’s recent 12 game sample size has made the organization and fans more comfortable with that line of thinking.

The rest of the roster is a work in progress. This summer, James Jones accumulated players with the hope that some of them will see the playoffs with Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. Where does Kelly Oubre Jr. fit in this evaluation and should he be looked at as one of the cornerstones of the franchise moving forward? He must fit with Booker and Ayton and help accentuate their positives to be a viable cornerstone of the Suns in the future. Let’s dive in:


Kelly Oubre has shown more growth and potential than most foresaw when he was traded from the Washington Wizards to the Phoenix Suns on December 17, 2018. To eliminate many variables, statistics from 2018/2019 only include his 40 games played with the Suns during last season, leaving out his Washington time due to a different role.

A key to maximizing Booker and Ayton’s positives is his ability to create space. Ayton needs room to operate down low and Booker needs driving lanes as well as players who make defenders hesitate before doubling. Kelly Oubre has turned into an analytical darling on offense, shooting 37% of his shots from 3 and 33% within three feet of the rim. He does not dabble much in the mid-range.

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He’s increased his 3-point percentage to a very respectable 36.8% on over five attempts per game. This is a big improvement to last year’s 32.5% 3-point percentage. Just as importantly, he is near the top of the league in “clutch” 3s for the season, showing a knack for pressure situations. He has become a player that creates space for the team’s two stars.

Kelly Oubre has raised his points per game from 16.9 to 19.2 this season. His effective FG% has gone up to 0.528 and he’s increased his rebounding by over 25% from last year, averaging 6.7 rebounds per game.

A knock on Oubre’s game has been his tunnel vision and turnover numbers. His assists are slightly down from last year, going from 1.8 per game to 1.6 per game. His turnover percentage has also decreased significantly, from 10.7% to 8.7%. When combined with his increased offensive numbers, we notice a player who is now 24 years old, becoming more efficient, and fitting within the offense better.

One reason Kelly fits on the Suns so well is his ability to play outside of the offense, and the team does not want that to fully be taken away, but rather controlled. He is better at finding the right mix this season and cutting his wild play. This has him more efficient and still retaining the attacking mentality that improves his game. He has turned into an extremely good offensive compliment to Booker and Ayton.