During the Washington Wizards’ season opener, Kelly Oubre Jr. filled in with the starters after Jason Smith left the game because of a sprained right shoulder, and he might remain with the group Friday night when the Wizards face the Detroit Pistons. “There’s definitely a possibility. It’s really not making that decision on last night. He played great,” Coach Scott Brooks said of starting Oubre, who sparked the top unit with his three-point shooting and defense in the 120-115 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. “I’m going to make that decision [Friday] on how it could help us win the next game… Kelly definitely has a chance to start.” On Wednesday night, Smith, the 7-foot big man who replaced Markieff Morris in the starting lineup, suffered his injury on one of the first defensive plays of the game while attempting to stop Joel Embiid at the rim. The next day, Smith’s MRI revealed no structural damage, but he missed practice in order to receive treatment. Though Smith’s injury limits the Wizards’ depth at the power forward position, Oubre offers a tempting alternative to play and stay small. During the opener, the four regular starters plus Oubre played 17 minutes and showed balance on both ends of the court. Though the 6-11 Marcin Gortat was the only legitimately big player, this unit collected 18 rebounds and three blocks, according to NBA.com. On the offensive end, the shooting was inaccurate (14 of 32 for 43.8 percent), but in this 17-minute stint, players drew 15 fouls and attempted 22 of the team’s 38 total free throws. Oubre factored significantly into the unit’s success by grabbing eight rebounds, including a perfectly-timed putback slam in the fourth quarter.
Kelly Oubre Jr. might find himself spending more time with Wizards starters
Washington Post | Oct 20