Quick Links

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.']

Quick Links

Free-throw discrepancy irks Wizards coach Scott Brooks going into Game 4

Free-throw discrepancy irks Wizards coach Scott Brooks going into Game 4

ATLANTA -- During a regular season full of complaints about the lack of foul calls, John Wall is getting his share of them in the first three games of the Wizards' series with the Atlanta Hawks. 

Unfortunately for them, however, hardly anyone else is getting to the line heading into Game 4 tonight at Phillips Arena. 

Coach Scott Brooks addressed it after Monday morning shootaround. In fact, he went out of his way after being asked about Bradley Beal's shooting woes to segue into the lack of opportunities compared with the Hawks' Paul Millsap who has gone from 5.9 regular-season average for attempts per game to almost double that. 

“We’d like to get to the free-throw line. We haven’t been there enough," Brooks said. "Brad is one of our guys who can get there. We have to do  a better job of getting there. Millsap has had (35) free throws. One guy has a lot more than our three guys combined."

Solely based on numbers, Brooks has a point. Millsap is 28 of 35 while John Wall is 26 of 31 on free throws which basically cancels out each other. 

Among the rest of the starters, Beal is just 5-for-9 in three games, Otto Porter 3-for-3, Markieff Morris 4-for-5 and Marcin Gortat has zero attempts.

Dennis Schroder alone has attempted more foul shots than the four at 16-for-20. Tim Hardaway is 11-for-14. Dwight Howard and Taurean Prince are a combined 6-for-9.

Morris held court with the Wizards' bigs about how to defend Millsap. When he gets the ball on the left side of the floor, he sweeps through with the ball and jumps backwards to draw whistles to sell the contact.

The emphasis is on keeping the hands up and not hidden so game officials will see there was no contact on the shot. Jason Smith fouled out in just eight minutes off the bench for Washington, getting most of the whistles defending Millsap.

"The facts are the facts. Our three, four and five have only taken eight free throws in the entire series," Brooks said of Porter, Morris and Gortat. "Their one guy has taken (35). That's what it is. I'm not staying that we're not fouling, because we are. I'm not saying that they're not fouling."

The Hawks are playing soft on coverages and giving the Wizards' shooters mostly open looks as they load the paint to prevent easy finishes at the rim from Wall and Beal. Naturally, they're going to be fewer attempts for the team that shoots more jump shots but that the starting frontcourt has attempted just eight -- after a foul-plagued Game 2 that was litered with 55 called infractions -- still is eye-catching.

MORE WIZARDS: Will John Wall work out with Dennis Schroder this summer?

Quick Links

John Wall isn't thinking twice about working out with Dennis Schroder this offseason

John Wall isn't thinking twice about working out with Dennis Schroder this offseason

ATLANTA – Among the many curious things that Atlanta Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder says, his comments that he asked opposing point guard John Wall to work out with him during the offseason didn’t seem to make much sense.

Why would that be a conversation during a first-round playoff series between the Wizards and Hawks? And did that even happen? Wall seemed surprised by the question but non-commital about whether or not Schroder approached him about it.

“I’ve never heard of that going on in the middle of a series,” Wall said Monday after shootaround for Game 4 later tonight at Phillips Arena. “I’m not talking about it right now. I’m locked into a series competing with a guy that’s playing well for his team, competing for his team. That’s probably a conversation I’ll have later on, but I’m locked into Wizards versus Hawks.”

Aside from that, Wall tends to be a loner during the summer when he’s getting ready. He was supposed to work out with Damian Lillard a few seasons ago, but even that didn’t come to fruition. Teammate Brandon Jennings sensed that about Wall.

“I really don’t work out with anybody, to be honest,” Wall said. “Brandon said the same thing, ‘You’re the type of guy that don’t like to work out with people.’ I just always worked out by myself a lot.”

MORE WIZARDS: Brandon Jennings explains his 'John with the Shades' MVP case for Wall