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Kelly Oubre, Jr. on hitting a wall, hoping to fight his way back into Wizards' rotation

Kelly Oubre, Jr. on hitting a wall, hoping to fight his way back into Wizards' rotation

Weeks ago, before the Wizards pulled off a trade for forward Bojan Bogdanovic to boost the depth on their bench, several members of the organization approached second-year swingman Kelly Oubre, Jr. with a question.

"A lot of people came up to me and asked me if I hit a wall before the All-Star break," he said.

His teammate John Wall even brought it up publicly in an interview with CSN's Chris Miller following the Bogdanovic trade.

"I think it was a great [All-Star] break for Kelly… because he kind of hit the rookie wall, even though he didn't get to play as much last year," Wall said.

It was one day later that head coach Scott Brooks openly yearned for a "better version" of Oubre, a guy who earlier this season was the most consistent fixture on Brooks' bench while waves of changes were made around him. 

Now that major adjustments have been made to the roster itself, with the trade for Bogdanovic and the signing of point guard Brandon Jennings, Oubre has been among the biggest casualties. Before the Bogdanovic trade, he averaged 20.7 minutes through 53 games. Since, he's averaged just 11.7 minutes in 11 games and that stretch includes just :39 seconds of garbage time against the Timberwolves on Monday. On Wednesday, he didn't play at all against the Mavericks.

The playing time has all of a sudden dried up entirely for the 2015 first round pick out of Kansas.

"I never really thought I did [hit a wall], but looking back at it now, I was a little fatigued, man. Mentally and physically," Oubre said. "All year I've been pretty much trying to find my way. I've had ups and downs... Now I've gotten a little rest and the second half of the season is up, there is more focus on the playoff push, obviously. I'm just trying to end my sophomore season off with a bang."

As Brooks has shown this season, just because a player is out of his favor at one point doesn't mean they are banished for good, and vice versa. He makes some of his decisions based on things the media and others do not see in practice. It can make his line of thinking hard to predict.

As for what Oubre needs to get back into the mix, it all comes back to a common theme for him: focus and discipline.

"More discipline, man. I have all the talent. I have all the skills," Oubre said. "I work on it every day. I just gotta continue to remain disciplined and try to follow the right reps and do things the right way every time. Just continue to get better. I've been watching a lot of film, staying in the gym and trying to work on my craft."

Oubre offers no ill-will towards anyone or any part of his situation. He thinks he can eventually play with Bogdanovic and within the new structure of the Wizards' roster.

"We're very versatile. I don't like to categorize people on the basketball court," Oubre said of the logjam at small forward. "We're all basketball players at the end of the day. We have to get the job done. Playing with [Bogdanovic] or playing against him, it doesn't matter. I just love to compete and he loves to compete, too. I'm glad he's on our side."

Oubre, 21, is looking forward to playing in the postseason for the first time this spring, no matter what role he will be in. It will be a new experience for him after the Wizards missed the playoffs during his rookie season.

For now, he has to wait his turn and improve in the best ways he can, on the practice court and in the film room.

"I feel like I have a lot of talent that people will really be in awe about. I just have to continue to stay consistent and be me," he said.

[RELATED: Wall on Cousins: 'He said he would come to D.C.']

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NBA rookies vote Dennis Smith Jr. most likely to win Rookie of the Year


NBA rookies vote Dennis Smith Jr. most likely to win Rookie of the Year

There's been a lot of hype around this year's rookie class in the NBA. Now, we've had a chance to hear from the rookies themselves, and they're apparently very high on Dallas Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr.

39 rookies took part in a survey for NBA.com, and Smith was voted most likely to win Rookie of the Year, receiving 25.7 percent of the vote. Lonzo Ball came in second at 20 percent, and Markelle Fultz followed at 17.1 percent.

Smith spent one year at North Carolina State before being taken 9th overall by the Mavs. 

Keep in mind though, the history of this poll doesn't have much success when it comes to predicting the award. The rookies surveyed have predicted the Rookie of the Year just once since 2007 when Kevin Durant won the award. 

Last year, they picked Timberwolves guard Kris Dunn, who already was traded to the Bulls this offseason, and the award went to Milwaukee's Malcolm Brogdon.

Granted, there were very few who would've predicted a second round pick like Brogdon to win Rookie of the Year.

Vegas also has a slightly different idea as to who will win the award too.


Utah's Donovan Mitchell was voted as the "biggest steal" in the draft based on where he was taken. Mitchell was picked 13th by the Jazz.

Phoenix's Josh Jackson was voted as the top defender in the rookie class. The former Kansas star received 26.3 percent of the vote, followed by Golden State's Jordan Bell (23.7 percent) and Mitchell (21.1 percent).

Ball and Jayson Tatum were also voted the rookies that will have the best career.

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Wizards play Knicks twice in the 2017-18 preseason

Wizards play Knicks twice in the 2017-18 preseason

The Wizards will play the New York Knicks two times during the 2017-18 preseason, once at home at the Capital One Arena and again on the road at Madison Square Garden.

The Knicks confirmed the news on Tuesday in a tweet of their full schedule, though the matchups with New York were previously reported by CSN. Now that we have the dates for their games against the Knicks, here's how the Wizards' preseason schedule looks:

Oct. 6 vs. New York Knicks, 7 p.m.

Oct. 8 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 at Miami Heat, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 13 at New York Knicks, 7:30 p.m.

The Wizards then start their regular season at home against the Philadelphia 76ers on Oct. 18. That will be the first NBA game for No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz.

It's always hard to predict who will actually play in the preseason, but the Wizards' preseason set is pretty decent. The Cavs are the defending conference champions and have several stars in LeBron James, Kyrie Irving (for now) and Kevin Love. The Knicks have Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony, making them worth watching despite their record. And the Heat just barely missed the playoffs last season and could be the Wizards' biggest threat to defending as division champs.