When the Golden State Warriors traded with the Phoenix Suns to get — wait, hold on. Sam Presti and the Oklahoma City Thunder grabbed him and then flipped him for their millionth first round pick. I forgot. Let me start over.
When the Golden State Warriors sent a first round pick to get Thunder small forward Kelly Oubre Jr., fans were overall pretty satisfied with the move. He’s a steadily improving player who could turn into a key piece for the team going forward without Klay Thompson.
Now, I understand, it’s only been five games. Players go through slumps. The first five games of this season, however, have been an absolute trainwreck in term of Oubre’s offensive prowess. Klay might as well be out there on one leg instead.
Coming into the 2020-21 season, Oubre had been delivering as a role player on the Phoenix Suns. Scoring 18.7 points per game with a 6.5 rebound average, he was arguably the second-best player on the squad. Being on the “bubble Suns” is also one of the greatest things a guy can have on his NBA resume.
The start of the 2020-21 season, on the other hand…
Our friend Kelly Oubre Jr. is shooting 27-percent from a two point range, 4-percent from the three point range, and 60-percent from the free throw line. I don’t think any player has kept an average like that up throughout a season and stayed in the league.
Just in case you think he’s made up for it with some sort of incredible volume and offensive pace, he’s only scoring 8.2 PPG in 26 average minutes. So, no, he has not.
Would you believe his shooting percentages stat is actually trending upwards? Oubre Jr. began the season 0-for-17 from the three point line and a nauseating 0-for-31 on non-dunk attempts. He was only able to put the ball in the net from one centimeter away. He’s been averaging 2.4 turnovers a game as well, which means that if he was the last Warrior with the ball on an offensive possession, it was more likely to end up in the opponent’s hands than the hoop.
It’s a shame. Oubre Jr. is one of the more well-liked players in the league and I don’t see many fans making fun of his sudden drop-off the way everyone on earth bullied Paul George into deleting his social media during his bubble struggles. The poor guy’s likely just hitting a Chris Davis-esque slump, and should bust out of it soon.
If there’s a bright side, it’s that he’s kept his solid rebounding play up and remains valuable on the defensive side. If his shooting never really improves, maybe he’s meant to grow three inches and turn into Ben Simmons.
Dear Kelly Oubre Jr.,
Kelly, if you’re reading this, I think I speak for all of us when I say we’re rooting for you to get back to form. That said, we’re also curious as to just how long you can shoot this poorly. There was a point in 2019 where no one watching a Baltimore Orioles game wanted Chris Davis to hit the baseball. Don’t let your slump get that far.