Kelly Oubre Jr. is a 6’7, 203 pound wing who played the 2020-2021 season for the Golden State Warriors. He is an incredibly good athlete and somehow is only 25 years old despite first playing in the NBA during the 2015-2016 season.
Oubre appeared to have taken a step forward in the 2019-2020 season with the Phoenix Suns. He made 108-of-307 threes for a career high 35.2 percent rate. He also averaged career highs of 18.7 points per game and 6.4 rebounds per game. This season was a step back though. His points per game averaged fell to 15.4 and his 3 point shooting cratered to 31.6 percent.
Length and athleticism are Oubre’s calling cards. He has a 7’3 wingspan despite being only 6’7 and he is an explosive leaper. The hope has always been that he would be able to leverage these physical gifts to be an elite defender. He has never actually done so, though he did take strides this year. He had a minus-3.4 percent effect on the shots he defended versus their expected shooting percentage which is in line with many good but not great defenders.
He is also a more gifted pure scorer than anyone on the team other than Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis now that Tim Hardaway Jr. is a free agent. He has averaged 15.2, 18.7 and 15.4 points per game over the last 3 seasons.
Shooting and actualized basketball skills are his biggest weaknesses. Oubre’s three point shooting has never been consistent but it fell to an unacceptable level this past year. If the Mavericks signed him the hope would be that his shooting would improve with the shots Luka Doncic gets him. The problem is he is already getting good shots. 4.9 of his 5.1 attempts per game were either open or wide open per NBA.com. He shot a putrid 26.6 percent on open shots and 37.8 percent on wide open shots. He only shot 33.5 percent on catch and shoot jumpers overall.
There is also a question as to how much his defense truly improved this year. He played with Draymond Green who is truly a defensive savant who covers up a myriad of issues for his teammates. Without Green, it is entirely possible he reverts to the more theoretical defender he has been for the rest of his career.
Fit with the Mavericks
From a resource allocation standpoint, signing Oubre would be a great sign for the Mavericks. He is the type of extremely athletic jumbo wing that can always find minutes in the playoffs. From an actual playing standpoint the fit is much more questionable.
One of Luka’s greatest talents is the amount of quality of shots he creates for his teammates. The Mavericks goal should be and has been to surround him with shooters. Oubre very much does not fit that mold. The Warriors offense was 8.6 points per 48 minutes worse with him on the court than off. The defense was 2.9 points per 48 minutes worse with him on the court for a whopping minuis-11.6 points per 48 minutes on/off split.
The Mavericks desperately need to add talent and Oubre certainly has talent. He is theoretically a “3 and D” wing but he provides bad shooting and questionable defense. He would represent the team doubling down on the philosophy of valuing physical and athletic traits over actualized basketball skill. That trend needs to stop, and hopefully Oubre will be where it does.
(Do not be fooled by this highlight where he makes shots against the Mavericks, it was by far his best game of the season).