What type of player is Kelly Oubre Jr. and how can he help Warriors?

Golden State is on the verge of acquiring a young piece that could pay immediate dividends on a Klay Thompson-less roster.

The rejoicing in Dub Nation over the Golden State Warriors’ acquisition of the young giant James Wiseman is tempered by the mourning of fallen hero Klay Thompson. Thompson’s Achilles injury will have him miss a second straight season of his prime, leaving a massive hole for the franchise to fill both emotionally and on the court.

With that in mind, the Warriors front office have nearly answered the long awaited question of what they’ll do with their traded player exception, signaled by a Woj Bomb dropped this afternoon.

Now trades aren’t official until tomorrow, but this apparently is pretty much a done deal.

It’s pretty cool that the Andre Iguodala trade led to Kelly Oubre Jr., the former 15th overall pick of the 2015 draft. He’s a 24-year-old, 6-foot-7 small forward with tremendous bounce and a revving motor. AND his nickname is “Tsunami Papi” so it’s only right he comes to the aid of the Splash Bros.

As a bonus, he’s on the last year of his contract and the Warriors will receive his Bird rights, which means the Dubs can go over the salary cap to resign him if all works out.

Quick glance at Oubre’s offense

Last year with the Suns Oubre averaged a career high 18.7 points on 45% shooting from the field. He also drilled a career high 35% of his attempts from downtown. He’s an athletic slasher who loves to get out in transition and posterize anyone in his way.

I’d like to see him on the opposite wing of his new teammate Andrew Wiggins as Draymond Green or Stephen Curry push the ball up court. He adds an NBA Jams level of airborne theatrics that will pump up Golden State fans in Chase Center.

Here are his shooting accuracy breakdowns by season per Cleaning The Glass. The color chart compares his accuracy to his position’s average: the colder regions show below average percentages and the warmer regions show above.

Judging from this chart his mid-range game was pretty deadly last season, while his deep shot was, to quote Duby Dub Dubs, “not so hot”. But tell that to the Portland Trailblazer fans who got lit up by his seven treys last December.

Quick glance at Oubre’s defense

Defensively, he can be very active with his hands and length. He ranked 14th in the league in deflections and has a penchant for rejections as you can see in the next clip.

I haven’t watched a ton of Phoenix basketball (because they’ve been trash) so I went to the Suns Reddit to glean some insights from their community. I encourage you to check out this thread on Oubre’s defense to get a picture of what Phoenix fans saw from him on the defensive side of the ball.

I also stumbled across a post from from another Phoenix focused blog, “Valley of the Suns”, that made me feel pretty good about the acquisition:

Kelly is a special player. He can shoot it from deep, lock up the opposing team’s star, rack up double-digit rebounds, and famously, posterize anybody in his way.

If I had to compare Oubre to one Phoenix Suns all-time great, it would be Shawn Marion. Both guys play small forward, work hard on both ends, can play multiple positions, and do not need the ball in their hands to be effective.

SHAWN MARION? Yeah that’s the kinda guy I’d love to add to the Warriors for the TPE.

Quick glance at big picture

I scoured one more Suns internet community for what Oubre could improve upon, and this is what Bright Side of the Sun’s season review stated:

Now that Kelly will be on the bench getting a courtside seat to witness all the action, he should be able to pick up on certain things he might not have seen if he was playing. Two areas he needs to improve in are his decision-making (shot selection) and court vision (playmaking). Some of his questionable shots will have you saying, “Kelly, no, no, no.... yeah!” (after it goes in) and he does have the ability to hit tough shots so I won’t get on him too much for that.

At times he can get tunnel-vision on his drives and miss wide open kick outs for a corner three or miss Deandre Ayton diving baseline for example. If he can get the assists numbers up a bit and improve on creating for others it would make Phoenix a much more dangerous offensive team. I believe that’s the next step for his personal growth as a player.

I’m pretty sure Warriors coach Steve Kerr can teach a thing or two about shot selection and playmaking.

If Oubre can defend consistently, finish with authority, and shoot with confidence, he’ll be a relative steal this offseason. Can you imagine he and Wiggins morphing into a super charged wing tandem swarming the court around Steph and Dray?

Best case scenario is he helps the Warriors do the unthinkable: survive the loss of a future Hall-of-Famer in Klay Thompson and reclaim the throne.

I like the fit. Do you?


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