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NBA draft Pistons prospect breakdown: Kelly Oubre

Let's talk about upside with Kelly Oubre.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Kelly Oubre is perhaps the most raw prospect in the draft, at least among those slated to go in or near the lottery. After an inconsistent year at Kansas, he is capitalizing on the potential factor and entering the draft. Now he's projected to go much lower than Detroit's 8 pick, more around the 12-16 range, but for the sake of posterity it's prudent to examine all the options.

Physical Stats

The main attraction to Kelly Oubre Jr. is his physical profile. His height alone is unimpressive, 6'5.75" barefoot and 6'6.75" with shoes. But add in a 7'2.25" wingspan, 5.3% body fat, and a 37 inch vertical leap, and you have the potential for Oubre to develop into a very good defender at the next level. He is often described as a fluid athlete by experts, but is perhaps a bit on the small side weight wise. His wiry 203 pound frame will likely take a beating at the next level unless he bulks up. Honestly, I can project a similar year for Oubre in his rookie season to the one James Young from Kentucky and the Celtics went through. They're very similar players, long and athletic with inconsistent jump shots. Young only made 31 appearances for Boston, and played much of the year in Maine with the Red Claws of the D-League. Oubre may be heading down the same path.

Style of Play

At this point, it's a bit hard to predict what Oubre will be able to provide straightaway in his NBA career. His shooting percentages are very streaky, as evidenced by his 35.8% mark from downtown. His free throw percentage of 71.8% could also use some work, and he converts less than half of his two point looks. He does show some ability as a pure scorer, however, averaging a shade under 18 points per 40 minutes.

However, besides rebounding, he makes nearly no other statistical contributions of any significance. He averages close to 9 rebounds per 40 minutes, which is impressive given his sleek frame, but only 1.8 assists per 40. He also, despite having long arms, only managed just over 1 steal per game in his freshman season at Kansas.

According to stats per 100 possessions, however, Oubre is a marvel. He has an offensive rating of over 112 while his defensive rating is around 92. Whether it's a function of his affect on the team or merely the lineups he was a part of I have no idea. Considering the fact that he only contributed 1.7 win shares both offensively and defensively, I'd guess it was the latter. He did have a high usage rate at 23.1%, meaning that, considering he spent a fair chunk of the season coming off the bench, he was probably playing as the number 1 option of the second unit.

The problem with Oubre is his shot mechanics. On catch and shoot situations, he's perfectly acceptable. However, when you close out on him and force him to put it on the floor, his percentages plummet. He seems to shoot the ball a lot flatter after taking a dribble, meaning he isn't comfortable with creating his own offense just yet.


Oubre is a project, and likely best for a team with an established small forward whom he can learn under. With a young team like Detroit looking to accelerate the last stage of the rebuild and get back into the postseason, Oubre doesn't seem like the best fit, especially considering his shooting inconsistencies, which wouldn't be best served in a lineup with Reggie Jackson and KCP.