home Blogs Depth Chart Dreams: Can Kelly Oubre Ball His Way Into The Starting Lineup?

Depth Chart Dreams: Can Kelly Oubre Ball His Way Into The Starting Lineup?

After a summer league in which he averaged 19.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, questions naturally arose for Scott Brooks and his soon-to-be handling of the Wizards’ starting small forward position. There’s Oubre: the coveted prospect. And then there’s Otto Porter: the steady, gradually improving 4th year player. When asked about his role as a starter, Porter said he wanted to earn it. No handouts.

Under the Randy Wittman regime, Oubre – much like many other young players – saw very spotty playing time. In contrast, one of new coach Scott Brooks’ hallmarks is his ability to develop young talent – something that may pay immediate dividends for Oubre.

If summer league wasn’t an accurate depiction of NBA-level competition, Oubre has been on a tear so far this preseason. Through two games, he’s averaging 20 points per game (59% FG) and an impressive 4-5 from three-point range. He also fits well within Washington’s scoring (9th in the league last season) and pace (5th in the league last season). Finally, Oubre has the physical characteristics to be effective disturbing shots and causing disruption in the passing lanes.

So is there an argument for Oubre as a starter? That may be premature. While Oubre has shown flashes of improvement, his scoring and budding chemistry with Tomas Satoransky would be valuable to the Wizards’ second unit.

But consider this:

There is some reason to believe Otto Porter may be at or near his ceiling as a player. While he averaged career bests across all major categories, he was also settled in a starting role for the first time in his career. Otto plays to his billing out of college. He has a solid basketball IQ, makes very few mistakes, and never steps beyond his role in the system.

Also, after missing out on landing a marquee free agent this past summer, the Wizards likely must look from within to find their next star. At the end of this season, the Wizards must decide whether or not they’ll be extending a qualifying offer to Otto Porter.

This is an ideal time to give Oubre a lot more playing time to grow.

One thought on “Depth Chart Dreams: Can Kelly Oubre Ball His Way Into The Starting Lineup?

  1. Kelly Oubre has the spectacular explosiveness and the personality of a star. If he works hard to learn a few fundamentals, (e.g., playing off-ball defense, having a plan when he takes it to the rim, general ball-handling and passing skills) then he could become not only a starter, but an NBA All-Star. Those who say Otto Porter is of questionable ability and not improving should hope to soon hear a “popping sound” so they can actually watch him play. Porter is constantly improving, and even though his ceiling is not as high as Oubre’s, someone who realize their “B+” potential (Porter) makes a bigger contribution than an “A” talent (Oubre) that is unable to master the fundamentals of basketball. And Porter is still quite a young player.
    Porter can do it all – It was a meaningless but intense preseason game against the Knicks last night, and Porter had to guard the best pure scoring SF in the NBA (Melo). Melo was feeling it, and Porter had his hands full trying to guard Melo. But Porter made some very savvy plays on both sides of the ball, did a great job on the boards and sparked the Wizards offense early. Watch the tape and note how Porter often led their transition offense, and disrupted many Knicks plays. Porter is a good all-around SF who will do a better job this season as a starter. As you noted, the Satoransky – Oubre pair could be the driving force of a very good second unit. Eventually Oubre should become a starter, and maybe Porter becomes a great 6th man or gets traded (I would like to see him stay in Washington).

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