The Evolution of Washington Wizards Forward Kelly Oubre Jr.

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 25: Kelly Oubre Jr. /

Washington Wizards third-year player Kelly Oubre Jr. seems to have arrived at the next level as he evolves into a top NBA forward.

After the Washington Wizards elected to match the Brooklyn Nets max offer sheet of a four-year, $106.5 deal in July to keep forward Otto Porter Jr., many fans were left wondering where Kelly Oubre Jr. fit in the Wizards plans.

That’s the reality for 6-foot-7 Wizards forward Oubre Jr., who sits behind Porter in the Wizards depth chart.

However, Porter’s massive contract hasn’t rattled the prolific Oubre, who is in the midst of a breakout season. The Wizards took notice and exercised their $3.2 million team option to keep Oubre through the 2018-19 season.

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The 22-year-old is enjoying career bests across the board in his third NBA season out of Kansas, who is averaging career-highs of 11.6 points, 43.4 field goal percentage, 38.1 3-point field goal percentage, 4.9 rebounds, and 26.9 minutes.

As a role player coming off the bench, with the exception of nine starts, Oubre caught fire right from the get-go, averaging 12.1 points in 25.3 minutes in Nov. Next, the former Kansas Jayhawk followed up Nov. with 11.6 points per game in Dec., maintaining his breakout season.

Despite Oubre playing the best basketball of his career, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks elected to ease his best bench player into 2018 as Oubre played just a combined 30 minutes for 12 points in the Wizards first two games of Jan.

However, Oubre’s playing time quickly trended upwards, and he most recently scored 17 points after shooting 3-for-4 from beyond the arc and 5-for-6 from the field.

Check out his pull-up 3-pointer to end the third quarter in the Wizards’ 119-113 win Friday night against the Brooklyn Nets:

So far, Oubre established numerous career-highs this season:

  • 22 points vs. 76ers (Nov. 29)
  • Nine field goals made vs. Rockets (Dec. 29)
  • Eight free throws made vs. Hawks (Nov. 11)
  • Five 3-pointers made vs. Cavs (Nov. 3)
  • Five steals vs. Trail Blazers (Dec. 5)

Oubre’s development through his young NBA career and current breakout season can be credited to NBA skills coach Drew Hanlen.

Training with NBA Skills Coach Drew Hanlen

Washington Wizards forward Kelly Oubre Jr. spends his offseason with elite NBA Strategic Skills Consultant and Founder/CEO of Pure Sweat Basketball Drew Hanlen, who also works with several NBA stars and Oubre’s fellow teammate Bradley Beal.

Hanlen has trained Oubre since his pre-draft workouts leading up to the 2015 NBA draft. Watch Oubre’s official NBA draft workout mixtape below:

Most noteworthy, Oubre’s steady dedication to developing skills and improving his overall performance in the offseason seems to shine brightly right now as he enjoys a breakout season.

But don’t be mistaken. Hanlen continues to train his clients, including Oubre, throughout the NBA season. Most often, Hanlen flys out during the season to train his clients whenever he can.

For example, Hanlen caught up with both Beal and Oubre as the 2017-18 NBA season got underway, which you can see below via Pure Sweat Basketball’s YouTube channel.

A few months later, Neil Dalal of Hoop District was able to catch up with Hanlen about Beal and Oubre’s progress this season.  More specifically, Hanlen discussed Oubre’s recent adjustments to his jump shot:

"At the start of the season, I thought he really locked in on the mechanics that we had changed this summer and obviously, he was getting great results. As the season has kind of progressed, fatigue has played more of a factor. There’s been some slippage in mechanics. We were able to get in the gym last night and try and refine it and get back to what we did. I like where it’s at. He’s still going to have to improve shooting threes off the dribble, which will kind of be the next step for him with his shooting mechanics. Overall, he’s up seven or eight percent from last year and we are just going to keep refining and tweaking it every year so that hopefully he becomes a knockdown shooter."

Hanlen keeps steady tabs on his clients throughout the season and uses social media to post video analysis of his clients. Check out Hanlen’s Instagram video below of Oubre’s latest work on the court.

Next: Wizards Top 10 Plays from First Half of Season

Above all, the Washington Wizards picked up the fourth-year team option of Oubre’s contract in Oct. that will keep the forward through the 2018-19 season. So far, the Wave Papi is showing he’s well worthy of a lofty contract extension.