Posts tagged with Nba Draft

Kelly Oubre Jr. talking a big game before his NBA career even begins

Washington Wizards' Kelly Oubre Jr. spins the ball on his finger during a portrait session for team photographer Stephen Gosling after an NBA basketball news conference, Friday, June 26, 2015, in Washington. Washington moved up four spots in the first round to get the Kansas freshman in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks, who selected Oubre with the 15th overall pick in the NBA draft the night before.. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Washington Wizards' Kelly Oubre Jr. spins the ball on his finger during a portrait session for team photographer Stephen Gosling after an NBA basketball news conference, Friday, June 26, 2015, in Washington. Washington moved up four spots in the first round to get the Kansas freshman in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks, who selected Oubre with the 15th overall pick in the NBA draft the night before.. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon

The newest Kansas basketball player to join the ranks of the NBA, Kelly Oubre Jr. doesn’t appear to care about making any friends before his first season.

The Washington Wizards acquired the one-and-done small forward on draft night from Atlanta, and since describing himself as a jewel during ESPN’s live coverage, the brash 19-year-old hasn’t let up.

Fourteen different organizations passed on Oubre before Atlanta took him for Washington at No. 15. According to the 6-foot-7 wing (who didn’t call any of his fellow draftees out by name), he is a better player than No. 1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns, No. 2 pick D’Angleo Russell, No. 3 pick Jahlil Okafor and so on, and so on.

“I have confidence in myself, so I believed that I was a top-10 pick from the get-go,” Oubre said in a piece from The Washington Post’s Scott Allen. “I don’t think that there’s 15 guys, or however many guys, that are better than me.”

Added the newest Wizard:

“A lot of guys that went in front of me, I know I’m better than.”

According to The Post, Oubre at least said in a Monday radio interview that he has respect for some specific players selected before him: Minnesota’s Towns, Philadelphia’s Okafor and Detroit’s No. 8 pick, Stanley Johnson.

Then he went right back to talking a big game:

“It’s a kill or be killed world, and I feel like I can do a lot of killing in this world.”

Oubre couldn’t resist himself on Washington’s 106.7 The Fan.

“I’m a competitor. I’m not going to say another guy’s better than me, because I don’t feel that way,” he continued. “I’m not going to say something I don’t feel. They’re great players, don’t get me wrong.”

Keep in mind all of this came a few days after he said the following when asked about his relationship with Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, the 2013-14 NBA MVP:

“We’re competitors,” he said. “I’m not enamored with who he is. That’s Kevin Durant, but I’m Kelly Oubre.”

None by Jorge Castillo

It seems the more Oubre talks, the less his peers — and ample pool of superiors — will find themselves enamored with him. He could’ve entered the league quiet, humble and hungry. At some point in the past few months, he decided to take another route.

Talking himself up to this extent wouldn’t even go over well if Oubre left college as a can’t-miss prospect. He’s far from that.

In his one season with the Jayhawks, Oubre averaged 9.3 points and 5.0 rebounds in 36 games, while making 44.4 percent of his shot attempts and 35.8% of his 3-pointers (34-for-95). A bad season? No. But he wasn’t exactly impressing decision-makers at the next level, either.

Oubre’s time at KU and how his game translates to the NBA both came up in a post-draft Grantland podcast from ESPN’s Ryen Russillo and Chad Ford. According to draft insider Ford, some scouts came away from watching Oubre at Kansas and asked, “What exactly does he do well again?”

One NBA general manager, after seeing how much the svelte perimeter player with the 7-foot-2 wingspan got by on raw athletic ability and instincts, went so far as to describe Oubre to Ford as a “basketball illiterate.”

However, Ford travelled out to Santa Barbara, California, before the draft to see Oubre and other top prospects as they trained at the popular P3 facility. Ford left impressed with Oubre’s dedication to improvement, which included three-a-day training sessions and basketball video breakdowns at night.

While Ford predicted a “rocky start” for Oubre as a rookie, he thinks his future could look a lot brighter — if he continues to put in the requisite work.

“If he develops,” Ford said, “the Wizards got an absolute steal at 15.”

On Monday, Oubre responded to the “basketball illiterate” comment during his radio appearance on The Sports Junkies.

“That’s people’s opinion. People don’t know me. People don’t know the things that I do,” the rookie-to-be said. “I’ve been a basketball player for a very long time and I’ve always watched the game. … I love the game of basketball, and I study the game of basketball, so I’m definitely a gym rat.”

If Oubre wants to one day live up to all of his own propaganda, the gym would be a great place to start, because each of the 14 players drafted ahead of him — and any veteran who finds him a little too cocky — will go out of his way to remind the Wizards rookie of how far he has to go.


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.


Reply

Stock watch: NBA Draft Eve edition

KUsports.com graphic by Janella Williams

KUsports.com graphic by Janella Williams

By the end of Thursday night, Kansas one-and-done prospects Kelly Oubre Jr. and Cliff Alexander will know which NBA city they will call home. For now, they have one more long day of anticipation ahead of them.

A possible lottery pick, Oubre received an invitation to the NBA Draft’s green room for Thursday night’s festivities in Brooklyn, New York. He has his duds picked out and is ready to go after spending much of the last month-plus working out for numerous franchises.

None by NBA

Alexander, a projected lottery pick before he arrived at KU, likely won’t hear his name called until the second round. That doesn’t mean he’s any less excited.

None by Cliff Alexander

Now that NBA Draft Eve has arrived, let’s take one last look at where Oubre and Alexander might end up, as they embark on their professional careers.

MOCK
DRAFTS
Kelly Oubre Jr.
projections
Cliff Alexander
projections
NBADraft.net 23rd 39th
MyNBADraft.com 16th 41st
DraftExpress.com 15th 34th
DraftSite.com 22nd 37th
Chad Ford, ESPN.com 16th N/A
SheridanHoops.com 15th N/A
BleacherReport.com 14th N/A
FOXSports.com 17th N/A
Sam Vecenie, CBSSports.com 13th 52nd
Gary Parrish, CBSSports.com 14th 34th
Zach Harper, CBSSports.com 10th 29th

Kelly Oubre Jr.

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre, Jr. (12) puts down a dunk in the first half of the Jayhawks game against the West Virginia Mountaineers Tuesday, March 4, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre, Jr. (12) puts down a dunk in the first half of the Jayhawks game against the West Virginia Mountaineers Tuesday, March 4, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

— SF, 6-foot-7, 200 pounds, 19 years old, from Richmond, Texas —

Average mock draft position: 16th

Current high: 10th — Miami (Zach Harper, CBSSports.com)

Current low: 23rd — Portland (NBADraft.net)

Stock assessment: Slipping. Just a couple weeks ago, Oubre’s average position fell in the late lottery, around No. 13. Since then, the small forward’s name is appearing later and later on mock drafts and big boards.

Of course, positives and negatives come with this development. There is the matter of money: the later Oubre gets picked, the less he’ll get on his rookie deal. However, because he isn’t going early in the draft, the young swingman has a chance to land on a decent-to-very-good team.

Take a look at the organizations predicted to take Oubre. Even the ones that reside in the lottery are great situations: Oklahoma City (14th), Miami (10th) and Phoenix (13th).

If Oubre remains sitting in the green room after the first 14 picks, that means he’s headed to a playoff team: maybe Portland (23rd), Boston (16th), Atlanta (15th), Milwaukee (17th) or even Chicago (22nd).

Really, the better the team that takes Oubre the better it will be for his NBA career, short-term and longterm. If the 19-year-old lands with an organization such as Oklahoma City or Chicago, he’ll find himself immediately on a championship-caliber roster. He might not factor into the rotation right off the bat with the Thunder or Bulls. But if those teams are healthy all season and routinely blowing out lesser opponents, Oubre will get his chances to play as a rookie. More importantly, he’ll learn in a winning environment, and practice with some of the league’s stars and key difference-makers, which could prove far more valuable than playing 30 minutes a night for a lousy team.

Atlanta could be the best of both worlds for Oubre. The Hawks had the best record in the Eastern Conference this past season, but they’re not loaded with depth at small forward — especially if DeMarre Carroll signs elsewhere as a free agent. Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer learned from one of the best in the business, San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich. The Spurs are renowned for getting the most out of their role players and developing them to meet their full potential. “Coach Bud” could do just that with Oubre, and bring him along slowly in a winning culture.

Cliff Alexander

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander (2) dunks off a pass from Frank Mason III, in the second half of the Jayhawks 73-51 win over Texas Tech Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 at United Supermarkets Arena.

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander (2) dunks off a pass from Frank Mason III, in the second half of the Jayhawks 73-51 win over Texas Tech Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 at United Supermarkets Arena.

— PF/C, 6-foot-9, 250 pounds, 19 years old, from Chicago —

Average mock draft position: 38th

Current high: 29th — Brooklyn (Zach Harper, CBSSports.com)

Current low: 52nd — Dallas (Sam Vecenie, CBSSports.com)

Stock assessment: Holding steady. Not all of the mock drafts floating around out there go as in-depth as others. But those that include Round 2 projections most often feature Alexander’s name in that range.

After a less than remarkable season at KU, Alexander looks like a project, for sure. But second-round picks don’t get guaranteed contracts, so teams don’t mind rolling the dice on players who have yet to prove they have any chance of sticking around in the NBA.

Longtime NBA writer Chris Sheridan said Alexander will be off the board within the first 10 picks of the second round.

None by Chris Sheridan

If that’s true, it would mean Alexander ends up with one of the following franchises: Minnesota (31st and 36th picks), Houston (32nd), Boston (33rd), the L.A. Lakers (34th), Philadelphia (35th and 37th), Detroit (38th), Charlotte (39th) or Miami (40th).

With two early second-round picks for both the Timberwolves and the Sixers, Alexander could find himself on the same team as one of his KU one-and-done predecessors, Andrew Wiggins or Joel Embiid.

Wherever Alexander goes, the organization won’t put any added pressure on him to produce immediately. It will be up to him to make a case for the team to keep him around.

If he’s lucky enough to land in Minnesota, the 19-year-old big man could could join the T’Wolves’ youth movement, in which Wiggins and likely No. 1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns will play the starring roles.

That scenario also would allow Alexander to learn from someone he would respect — even while getting showered with criticism. Kevin Garnett, who figures either to retire and join the Timberwolves in some off-the-court capacity or return for one more season, could build the youngster up by breaking him down. Alexander responded well to such tactics from Bill Self while at KU. And no offense to Self, but KG probably has way more street cred with a young power forward trying to find his way in the NBA.


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.


Reply

Hornets bring in Kelly Oubre Jr. for individual workout

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. smiles after some hustle on the defensive end turned the ball over to the Jayhawks during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015 at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. smiles after some hustle on the defensive end turned the ball over to the Jayhawks during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015 at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. by Nick Krug

The Charlotte Hornets — owners of the No. 9 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft — had Kelly Oubre Jr. in for an individual workout Thursday. It marked the first such session for the one-and-done small forward from Kansas, who got to show off his athleticism, wingspan and potential for a team’s coaches without other potential draftees sharing the coveted spotlight.

Afterward, the lottery hopeful told Charlotte-area media he showed the Hornets everything he can do as a player.

“Hopefully they’re pleased. You know, I believe they are,” the ever-confident Oubre said in an interview posted on the Hornets’ website. “This is an organization I could see myself thriving in, as well. I can come in immediately and make an impact — whether just pushing my teammates, my future teammates, or being an impact on the court immediately. I’m just trying to maximize all my opportunities and be the best player I can be.”

Previously, Oubre worked out with other draftees-to-be for the Pacers and Suns, for example. The 6-foot-7, 200-pound wing thought he performed well under pressure, and told The Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell he didn’t request to have a solo workout.

“I was informed I was going to be the only one on the court, and I didn’t argue,” Oubre said. “All eyes (were) on me. That felt good; I got to show out a little bit.”

None by Charlotte Hornets

Oubre considers himself mature for his age (19), and said his “supporting cast” — his parents, Kelly Oubre Sr. and Tonya Coleman Oubre — was behind him 100 percent when he decided to leave KU after one season of college basketball. As he has alluded to previously, Oubre said he thinks he can thrive in the NBA with his length (7-2 wingspan) and the ability to play more in open space at the next level.

“I have a lot of learning to do, and I’m willing to focus on basketball solely and dedicate myself to the game,” Oubre said. “I don’t have any other distractions. The game of basketball is everything to me now, and I’m committing the time to be the best player that I can be.”

The Hornets also posted video highlights from portions of Oubre’s workout on their team site.

Oubre showcased his:

• cross-over and pull-up jumper

None by Charlotte Hornets

• perimeter spin move en route to the lane

• fade-away, Dirk Nowitzki-esque jumper off one foot

• 3-point shooting from the left corner, left wing and top of the key

• ability to move from block to block in repetition, pick up a basketball on each side of the paint and jam it home

• conditioning (again), by running from sideline to sideline and finishing alley-oops in between

Oubre told reporters in Charlotte he also has workouts scheduled with Denver (7th pick), Detroit (8th pick) and Utah (12th pick). Plus, he’s trying to finalize a workout with Miami (10th pick).

On Chad Ford’s list of top 100 draft prospects at ESPN.com, Oubre currently sits at No. 12.

The Hornets played shooting guard Gerald Henderson and small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist the most minutes per game at the wing positions this past season, and Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeff Taylor are the only two players on the current roster listed as small forwards. So if Oubre really did impress Charlotte — and the organization’s decision-makers think he can become a consistent 3-point shooting threat (the Hornets shot a league-worst 31.8% from downtown in 2014-15) — Oubre at No. 9 makes some sense.

Charlotte desperately needs some scoring/shooting, though, to compliment the interior scoring of Al Jefferson. Lance Stephenson didn’t make nearly the impact anticipated after the Hornets signed the former Pacer last summer. Oubre didn’t look like much of a go-to scorer or shooter at Kansas — 9.3 points, 34-for-95 from 3-point range. The Hornets will have to agree with the youngster about his ability to thrive in The Association to take an unproven scorer with a top-10 pick.


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.


Follow @BentonASmith on Twitter.

Reply

Stock watch: Draft night just a couple weeks away for Kelly Oubre Jr. and Cliff Alexander

KUsports.com graphic by Janella Williams

KUsports.com graphic by Janella Williams

Both Kelly Oubre Jr. and Cliff Alexander have spent the past few weeks traveling to various NBA cities, meeting coaches and team executives and going through workouts and interviews — all in the name of proving themselves worthy of a rookie contract.

Nothing comes easy on the road to the league, even during this pre-draft stage. Alexander found that out last week, when he suffered a mild MCL sprain while working out for the Los Angeles Lakers. The big man’s draft stock steadily fell throughout his one season at Kansas, and even the most minor setbacks won’t help his chances of sneaking into the first round.

None by Los Angeles Lakers

Oubre, meanwhile, finds himself in a different sort of competition, as he and other potential lottery picks try to climb up the big boards in draft war rooms around The Association.

None by Scott Horner

The two one-and-done products from Kansas have just more than two weeks remaining to show off their skills, impress the right people and maximize their initial earning potential.

Here’s a look at where the two Jayhawks stand in various mock drafts around the web:

MOCK
DRAFTS
Kelly Oubre Jr.
projections
Cliff Alexander
projections
NBADraft.net 19th 45th
MyNBADraft.com 9th 38th
DraftExpress.com 13th 42nd
DraftSite.com 20th 41st
Chad Ford, ESPN.com 14th N/A
SheridanHoops.com 11th N/A
BleacherReport.com 9th N/A
Sam Vecenie, CBSSports.com 12th 37th
Gary Parrish, CBSSports.com 11th 35th
Zach Harper, CBSSports.com 10th 29th

Kelly Oubre Jr.

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) pulls up for a shot against Kansas State forward Stephen Hurt (41) during the first half, Monday, Feb. 23, 2015 at Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) pulls up for a shot against Kansas State forward Stephen Hurt (41) during the first half, Monday, Feb. 23, 2015 at Bramlage Coliseum. by Nick Krug

— SF, 6-foot-7, 200 pounds, 19 years old, from Richmond, Texas —

Average mock draft position: 13th

Current high: 9th, Charlotte (MyNBADraft.com, BleacherReport.com)

Current low: 20th, Toronto (DraftSite.com)

Stock assessment: Slightly improving. Nothing is guaranteed at this juncture, but it appears Oubre won’t slip out of the top 14 picks at the June 25 draft. Eight of the 10 forecasts have him getting picked in the lottery, in the range of 9th to 14th. Potential landing spots for the athletic young small forward include Charlotte, Indiana, Utah, Miami, Phoenix and Oklahoma City. Other predictions had Washington and Toronto picking him up later in the first round.

None by P3

For those of us who don’t have access to NBA workouts and draft preparation databases, NBA.com’s player metrics pages offer a cool alternative. The special feature profiles numerous soon-to-be rookies and includes vital measurements and information on each prospect.

Oubre has a 3-foot-1 vertical leap, a 7-2 wingspan, 6% body fat and his hands are 9 inches long and 9 inches wide.

As a handy comparison — which you can access on the page — Oubre has a better vertical (by 5 inches) and longer wingspan (5 inches) than Golden State’s Klay Thompson.

None by NBA Draft

The prospect analysis section of the profile offers even more insight. Oubre’s weaknesses are listed as:

• “has to gain size and strength”

• and “needs to keep working on consistency”

Here’s what one Western Conference scout had to say about the 19-year-old wing’s game:

“You get him in space and let him go, and you can't guard him. But when the game slows down, he can get in trouble. Now, can he get better? Yeah. Can he improve his shot? Yeah."

Cliff Alexander

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander (2) takes some contact from Oklahoma State forward/center Anthony Allen Jr. (32) as he elevates for a dunk during the first half, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander (2) takes some contact from Oklahoma State forward/center Anthony Allen Jr. (32) as he elevates for a dunk during the first half, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

— PF/C, 6-foot-9, 250 pounds, 19 years old, from Chicago —

Average mock draft position: 38th

Current high: 29th, Brooklyn (Zach Harper, CBSSports.com)

Current low: 45th, Boston (NBADraft.net)

Stock assessment: Slightly slipping. Only one draft prognosticator still thinks a team will use a first-round pick on Alexander, who appears to be a longterm project as an NBA big man.

Obviously, any number of teams could take him in the second round, but according to the mock drafts that include second-round predictions, potential suitors include Boston, Detroit, Utah, Brooklyn and Philadelphia.

Alexander’s player metrics file lists his wingspan at 7-4, his body fat at 6% and his hand length/width at 10 inches.

As a likely second-round pick, the 19-year-old big still has plenty of holes in his overall game. His weaknesses include:

• “at 6-9 in shoes, doesn’t have great NBA PF size”

• “has to continue to work on post moves”

• “needs to develop consistent face-up game”

• and “can he score over NBA bigs?”

Despite those areas of concern, some team will take a chance on Alexander because of that 7-4 wingspan and his potential as a rebounder. NBA teams always need depth in the frontcourt and that could give him a shot at sticking around in the league.


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.


Follow @BentonASmith on Twitter.

Reply

Kelly Oubre Jr. wants to become top SF in 2015 draft class

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. celebrates as the Jayhawks begin to take over the game late in the second half against Texas on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. celebrates as the Jayhawks begin to take over the game late in the second half against Texas on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The 2015 NBA Draft class doesn’t include a can’t-miss, franchise-changing small forward, and ever-confident Kelly Oubre Jr. thinks he has the potential to become the best from this crop of draftees at his position.

That certainly isn’t the popular opinion, or one reflected on publicized mock drafts and big boards. However, the one-and-done wing from Kansas who currently projects as a late lottery pick has a goal of going in the top seven a few weeks from now.

The 6-foot-7 forward admits there are plenty of other great prospects available, but he told DraftExpress.com he is out to prove people wrong.

“I feel like I’m the hardest-working guy in this draft,” Oubre said, “because I have a chip on my shoulder.”

Most draft prognosticators have Oubre going somewhere around 14th in the June 25 draft. If he is indeed able to attain his top-seven goal, it would likely mean jumping the small forwards currently rated ahead of him.

ESPN’s Chad Ford proclaimed Oubre may have “more upside than any other wing in the draft” after watching him work out in Santa Barbara, California, in late May.

Ford said when Oubre began his one college season in Bill Self’s doghouse, players such as Duke’s Justise Winslow and Arizona’s Stanley Johnson moved ahead of him. Those two, as well as 20-year-old Croatian Mario Hezonja, in particular figure to be his stiffest competition if an organization wants to use its lottery pick on a wing.

Oubre told Ford that Self brought out the best in his game by demanding he compete on both ends of the court.

“Once coach dropped the hammer on me and made it known I needed to be a two-way player, I kind of started to get things and flow better. Now I know that at the next level, I have to be a two-way player."

According to Ford, scouts now question Oubre’s offense. Shooting and ball-handling both give evaluators pause. So the wing from KU is working with Drew Hanlen — the same trainer who worked with Andrew Wiggins — on his jump shot and ball-handling.

Santa Barbara has become Oubre’s temporary home as he trains at P3, the same place where Arizona’s Stanley Johnson, Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky, Duke’s Jahlil Okafor and others are preparing for their first years as pros. Wiggins trained at P3 last year, and other standouts such as Dwight Howard and Al Horford have utilized the services available there in the past.

None by Jay Williams

Oubre told DraftExpress.com his goal by the time he leaves P3 is to become faster and “a more well rounded athlete.” The workouts focus on his upper body and core, he added, so he can drop his hips more when he makes certain moves. Oubre wants to become a stronger player and be able to assert himself when he attacks on offense.

The good news for the 203-pound 19-year-old is a lot of what he goes through at P3 isn’t too different from what he picked up at KU.

“Andrea Hudy is one of the best strength coaches in the country. She pretty much had us doing a lot of mobility things we’re doing at P3,” Oubre said of the easy transition. “I had a little step up from when I came to school, so it was great.”

Of course, plenty of his training is strictly basketball-focused, with an emphasis on his one-on-one skills, his defense and becoming a better shooter. Oubre said he needs to show consistency with his jump-shooting, and he’ll become more fluid with hours of repetition.

“I’m just trying to perfect something I know I can be great at at the next level,” he said.

Oubre also understands he’ll need to become a better ball-handler than he was in his one season with Kansas. Basically, he said he’s working on all the things he knows “will get me paid higher at the next level.” Good idea.

Wisely, Oubre says he plans to utilize the whole pre-draft process to improve himself, by learning from the people around him not just about the game, but also the business side of being an NBA player.

“This past season was great. I learned a lot,” he said of his stop in Lawrence. “It wasn’t the best season for me, but I just feel like this is the right move for me and I’m just learning a lot and growing as an individual.”

Early in the NBA Playoffs, Oubre spent some of his down time watching a couple of the players he hopes to emulate as a pro, Chicago’s Jimmy Butler and San Antonio’s Kawhi Loenard.

“Guys like that, I feel like they’re the new wave,” Oubre said, describing Butler and Leonard as players who can lock down on defense and have huge offensive games.

Speaking of defense, Oubre doesn’t lack sureness in his own potential there. Asked how many positions he could guard in the NBA, he responded: “Four. Maybe five.”

Really?

“There are superior athletes, great big men at the next level,” Oubre said, “but I don’t want to put any boundaries on myself.”

Oubre considers himself a “superior athlete,” as well. We’ll soon find out how many NBA decision-makers agree with that forecast.

DraftExpress.com currently has Miami taking Oubre with the 10th overall pick in the draft — behind fellow small forwards Johnson (No. 9, Charlotte), Winslow (No. 7, Denver) and Hezonja (No. 5, Orlando). Another potential lottery wing, Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker, currently sits just outside the top 14 (No. 15, Atlanta).


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.


Follow @BentonASmith on Twitter.

Reply

Cliff Alexander shows improvements at workout

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander (2) wrestles under the bucket with TCU Horned Frogs center Karviar Shepherd (14) during the first half at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander (2) wrestles under the bucket with TCU Horned Frogs center Karviar Shepherd (14) during the first half at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas. by Nick Krug

After one disappointing season at Kansas, forward Cliff Alexander appears to be making the best of his uphill climb toward an NBA career.

When your college basketball résumé includes such numbers as 7.1 points per game, 17.6 minutes per game and eight games missed due to an NCAA investigation, there isn’t much with which to impress the organizations you’re hoping agree to offer you a contract.

The 6-foot-8 1/2 big finds himself engrossed in the pre-NBA Draft process with his stock in a deficit. As a projected second-round pick, he’ll have to spend the next several weeks wowing coaches and management at workouts to sneak his way into the first round of the June 25 draft, in Brooklyn.

Training in his hometown of Chicago recently, Alexander spoke with Slam’s Rodger Bohn about the challenging road in front of him. He also said his one-season stop in Lawrence wasn’t a total loss.

“I learned a lot of knowledge from Coach (Bill) Self,” Alexander told Slamonline.com. “I learned the history of basketball and was just a sponge to everything that he told me.”

While Alexander often struggled to stay on the floor for Kansas, Self complimented the freshman forward on several occasions during this past season for being one of the more coachable players on the team.

That trait should help the young post player, now that his sole focus turns to showcasing his abilities as a player. Alexander acknowledged in the Slam interview he needs to improve his ball-handling and develop a more consistent jumper. Still, the 239-pound big man thinks he has more to offer, and his best attributes will help his cause.

“I’m going to surprise teams with my physical ability,” he predicted. “I didn’t really get a chance to show that at Kansas. A better Cliff Alexander, that’s all.”

To that point, Bohn reported Alexander looked best during drills that relied on his strength and athleticism, as shown in the highlight video put together by City League Hoops.

The big guy definitely has himself in outstanding shape, so give him credit for that. Probably the most impressive thing about the whole ordeal Alexander went through, which hurt both KU and his standing as a draftee, is that he responded the best way imaginable. It looks like he’s channeled his frustrations into making himself a more appealing player.

Although, Alexander is only putting up practice jumpers in the video — without the pressure and fatigue of in-game situations — those look good, too. The same goes for his footwork, which is one of the many aspects of his overall game he’ll have to continue to develop in order to successfully implement such maneuvers against NBA defenders.

Those finishes at the rim stand out, as well. Alexander isn’t exactly explosive when he leaves the floor, as far as the speed with which he gets to the rack, but he consistently finishes with strength — and throw-downs.

Some have claimed Alexander could only play center in the NBA because of his skill set, and his lack of height makes him undesirable. Actually, what position he plays — power forward or center — will depend solely on a team’s needs and style. In the right situation, he could come off the bench at either position.

In a list of the top 10 power forwards available from NBA.com’s David Aldridge, Alexander ended up just outside, in the realm of honorable mention.

Here are the prospects Aldridge ranks ahead of him:

1. Karl-Anthony Towns, Kentucky

2. Kristaps Porzingas, Latvia

3. Trey Lyles, Kentucky

4. Myles Turner, Texas

5. Bobby Portis, Arkansas

6. Kevon Looney, UCLA

7. Montrezl Harrell, Louisville

8. Jarell Martin, LSU

9. Chris McCollough, Syracuse

10. Jordan Mickey, LSU


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.


Reply

Stock watch: Lottery possible for Oubre, but Alexander seemingly destined for 2nd round

KUsports.com graphic by Janella Williams

KUsports.com graphic by Janella Williams

Now that the NBA Lottery and Draft Combine have concluded, the landscape for the 2015 draft began to come into focus a little more this week.

We know that Minnesota, the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia won the rights to picks 1, 2 and 3, but we also now have the exact order for the entire first round. That information is more important to one-and-done Kansas wing Kelly Oubre Jr., than his KU teammate, big man Cliff Alexander, of course.

Since Oubre officially declared for the draft, his name has been thrown out as an option in the later half of the lottery, most often in the 10 to 14 range.

Here’s a look at the order for the first 14 picks, keeping in mind it’s difficult to come up with a scenario in which Oubre would go much higher than No. 8 overall:

None by NBA Draft

1. Minnesota

2. L.A. Lakers

3. Philadelphia

4. New York

5. Orlando

6. Sacramento

7. Denver

8. Detroit

9. Charlotte

10. Miami

11. Indiana

12. Utah

13. Phoenix

14. Oklahoma City

Who knows which NBA front-office types and/or coaches will become enamored with Oubre’s skill set in the weeks to come, but he said at the combine he wants to prove he is one of the top talents in this rookie class.

Alexander, meanwhile, has much more work to do, just to validate himself as a player who is worth a late first-round pick. Last week he claimed there is more to his game than some may realize.

Many websites posted updated mock drafts with the lottery order in place. Check out where the following sites predicted Oubre and Alexander will end up (some sites don’t include second-round projections).

MOCK
DRAFTS
Kelly Oubre Jr.
projections
Cliff Alexander
projections
NBADraft.net 15th 39th
MyNBADraft.com 15th 38th
DraftExpress.com 10th 41st
DraftSite.com 20th 41st
Chad Ford, ESPN.com 17th N/A
SheridanHoops.com 11th N/A
BleacherReport.com 15th N/A
Sam Vecenie, CBSSports.com 12th 37th
Gary Parrish, CBSSports.com 11th 35th
Zach Harper, CBSSports.com 10th 29th

Kelly Oubre Jr.

Kansas' Kelly Oubre participates in the NBA draft basketball combine Thursday, May 14, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Kansas' Kelly Oubre participates in the NBA draft basketball combine Thursday, May 14, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

— SF, 6-foot-7, 204 pounds, 19 years old, from Richmond, Texas —

Average mock draft position: 14th

Current high: 10th (DraftExpress.com and Zach Harper, CBSSports.com)

Current low: 20th (DraftSite.com)

Stock assessment: Slightly slipping. Oubre hasn’t dropped too far since we last checked in on the mock drafts, two weeks ago. His average position then was 13th, and at 14 he’d still end up in the lottery — and become the 14th player from Kansas to get picked in that range in a span of 16 seasons.

Five of the 10 prognosticators listed above think Oubre will go that early, with Miami and Indiana standing out as popular destinations for the long, lean small forward. Three different mocks sent Oubre to Atlanta, the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed this season.

Toronto, Milwaukee and Utah also could land Oubre, according to some forecasts.

If Miami, which owns the 10th pick, indeed is interested in Oubre, it sounds like he’d be ecstatic to join the organization. As detailed by the Palm Beach Post’s Jason Lieser, Oubre sat down for an interview with Heat president Pat Riley at the combine.

“It was great,” Oubre said. “He’s a legend who has coached greats in the past, and seeing what he knows about the game of basketball is something I would never take for granted. I listened to every single thing he said. I asked him a couple questions, also, to see if I could pick his brain for things I need to know about my future.

“One of the things that stuck out to me was he said, ‘If you want to play for us, you’ve gotta be in the best shape of your life.’ I like to run and gun. If I’m running, I’m scoring in transition, and that’s what I do best.”

Cliff Alexander

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander chases after a loose ball with Kansas State forward Stephen Hurt (41) during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander chases after a loose ball with Kansas State forward Stephen Hurt (41) during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

— PF/C, 6-foot-9, 254 pounds, 19 years old, from Chicago —

Average mock draft position: 37th

Current high: 29th (Zach Harper, CBSSports.com)

Current low: 41st *(DraftExpress.com and DraftSite.com)*

Stock assessment: Falling. More mocks listed Alexander as a first-round pick last time around, and his average spot has dropped six spots since then.

Only one of the seven above projections that included the second round had Alexander going in the first, and it was 29th overall — the next-to-last pick in Round 1 — to Brooklyn.

Potential second-round suitors for the project power forward included Charlotte, Detroit, Philadelphia and (again) Brooklyn.

The good news for Alexander is it sounds like he’s entering this pre-draft process with realistic expectations. At the combine, he told zagsblog.com he kind of expected his stock to take a hit because of the way his one season at KU turned out.

One un-named scout told zagsblog.com, though, teams are less interested in Alexander because he has “limited upside” and he would be undersized in the NBA as a center.

“It is a shame that the NCAA ruled him ineligible at the end of his freshman year,” the scout said, “because he really needed at least one more year of college. He is a D-League guy no matter where he gets drafted.”


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.


Reply

Joel Embiid aids Sixers brass at Draft Combine

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid chats up Kansas assistant coach Kurtis Townsend on the way to the locker room following the Jayhawks' 74-64 win over Baylor on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid chats up Kansas assistant coach Kurtis Townsend on the way to the locker room following the Jayhawks' 74-64 win over Baylor on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Joel Embiid has yet to play a game in the NBA for Philadelphia, but the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft already has dabbled in coaching, scouting and interviewing prospects.

During the final week of the 76ers’ 18-64 season, coach Brett Brown let the one-and-done center from Kansas draw up a play in a timeout.

Thursday in Chicago, Brown and the Philadelphia brain trust had Embiid in tow at the Draft Combine. The 21-year-old 7-footer watched this year’s crop of incoming rookies run through drills and scrimmages and even sat in on interviews with potential draftees.

None by Jeff Goodman

The Sixers’ head coach told the Philadelphia Daily News he thought bringing a young player with the franchise’s decision-makers was a unique and great idea. On-76ers-Meetings-With-Prospects-At-Combine

"He gets a chance to talk to the guys who may be his future teammates,” Brown said. “He gets to listen to the answers to the questions that we ask, whether it be about their character, work ethic, whatever it may be.”

Philadelphia’s coach went on to call the 7-footer from Cameroon the franchise’s cornerstone.

“We want him being involved in our decisions moving forward,” Brown told the Philadelphia Daily News. “We're all in this together, and Jo knows that he is a very big piece for all of us moving forward. The more we can get him involved in everything is just better for everyone. I think this is the first time anyone has done anything like this."

Embiid didn’t attend last year’s combine, which has become common practice for the elite rookies in each class. CSNPhilly.com’s John Gonzalez reported the young big man asked Brown and Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie if he could tag along this week.

“I think that for him to come here to Chicago and share in the selection and opinions of people that we may draft is an impressive quality that he has shown us,” Brown told CSNPhilly.com.

The agenda also included non-combine activities, such as individual workouts and weight-lifting sessions for Embiid, but the highlight of the trip to Chicago had to be sitting in with his bosses as Philadelphia’s contingent interviewed his potential future teammates.

As you might imagine, the participation of Philly's player/coach/scout caught some prospects off guard. But Arizona’s Stanley Johnson told CSNPhilly.com the addition Embiid’s presence helped him feel at ease.

“It was fun because I got to have some dialogue with him,” Johnson said. “Jo Jo is always playing around. You know that.”

The fun-loving big man, Texas one-and-done Myles Turner shared, brought that same approach to his interview.

None by Philadelphia 76ers

“His first question was: Why didn’t you go to Kansas?” Turner said, laughing.

Brown enjoyed every minute of keeping his young center involved as the Sixers put potential draftees on the hot seat.

“I just think it's healthy,” Brown told CSNPhilly.com, “and I think it's got to be accumulative effort that we're putting out there where these guys have a say in the design and the growth of their own program."


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.


Reply

Kelly Oubre Jr. reveals lofty NBA goals at Draft Combine

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) goes hard to the bucket against Texas guard Kendal Yancy (0) and forward Myles Turner during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) goes hard to the bucket against Texas guard Kendal Yancy (0) and forward Myles Turner during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

For Kelly Oubre Jr., leisure time is a thing of the past.

With each passing day, the one-and-done Kansas basketball product inches closer to his NBA dream. The future had to feel tangible this week, as the 19-year-old attended the Draft Combine in Chicago.

Oubre spoke with NBA TV about the pre-draft process and said he has a lot of work to do each day, because he wants to put himself in position to reach his full potential and become an impactful player in the league.

“I’m hoping to show people I’m more than just a basketball player. I’m a student of the game,” Oubre said. “I take pride in showing everybody every aspect of the game.”

The 6-foot-7 wing revealed he studies some of the league’s current greats, such as Houston’s James Harden, Chicago’s Jimmy Butler and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard. Ideally, he’d like to one day emulate aspects of all of their games and be able to score on offense while also standing out as a “lockdown” defender.

None by NBA Draft

Once a team selects Oubre, who projects as a late lottery pick, he wants to one day be a part of taking that organization to the NBA Finals.

Such sentiments are the types he wants to get across to team executives and coaches in the many interviews he’ll go through, to accompany his workouts, in the weeks leading up to the June 25 draft, in Brooklyn. Oubre knows he will have to demonstrate his maturity and prove he is ready — both physically and mentally.

In Oubre’s one season at KU, his adjustment to a new level of competition didn’t start too smoothly. Bill Self only played him single-digit minutes in five of the Jayhawks’ first seven games. Though ranked No. 6 in the Class of 2014 by Rivals.com coming into college, Oubre didn’t become a permanent starter for Kansas until the 10th game of the season, in late December.

“That whole process was a learning experience for me,” Oubre said. “When I was sitting on the bench at Kansas it was pretty much opening up my eyes (to see) the world doesn’t revolve around myself. I have to abide by a team’s process, and pretty much I did so.”

That rough stretch as a freshman, he added, proved to be a breakthrough event in his evolution as a player.

“I just thank Coach Self and the coaching staff at Kansas for allowing me to learn, because I came in as a highly recruited athlete and he humbled me, pretty much,” Oubre said. “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be half of the man I am today.”

Although Oubre, who averaged 9.3 points and 5.0 rebounds in his one season at KU, admitted he could’ve benefited from a second year with the Jayhawks, he thinks the open-court style of the NBA will play to his strengths.

“I just believe I can compete at the highest level,” he said. “My determination and my drive and my work ethic is second to none. I believe that. And I believe I can make a heavy impact at the next level.”

#shhhh

A video posted by Kelly Paul Oubre Jr (@kellyoubrejr) on

#shhhh by kellyoubrejr

College basketball analyst Clark Kellogg offered an assessment of Oubre’s abilities, upon the conclusion of the NBA TV interview, and said the confident young swingman has a bright future if he honors the process of learning and developing.

“I like his stroke,” Kellogg said. “He shoots it easily from deep, and with confidence.”

Kellogg agreed Oubre should be able to take advantage of his athleticism in the open court:

“He can play, it’s just a matter of refining.”

None by NBA Draft

Oubre understands in order to attain the lofty goals he has set for himself, he’ll have to work maniacally. But he said the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, Joel Embiid, had some advice for him about how to approach the weeks ahead.

“He just told me to enjoy it,” Oubre shared. “This is the only time in your life you’re gonna be able to do this, because you’re not getting any younger. So just have fun. I’ll always remember that.”

None by NBA Draft


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.


Reply

Stock watch: Early draft projections vary on Kelly Oubre Jr. and Cliff Alexander

KUsports.com graphic by Janella Williams

KUsports.com graphic by Janella Williams

For the second year in a row, two Kansas basketball freshmen have left the program as one-and-done college players to chase their professional dreams and enter the NBA Draft.

Unlike in 2014, when Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid both proved to be top-three picks, it isn’t easy to project where Kelly Oubre Jr. and Cliff Alexander will go in the two-round, 60-pick extravaganza on June 25, in New York.

Between now and then, the two Jayhawks have almost two months worth of workouts, interviews and pondering in front of them, as they try to improve their draft stock and anticipate the day that will set them off on their NBA journeys.

The NBA Draft lottery, which determines the order of the top 14 picks, isn’t until May 19. Only Oubre has a shot to land in that range, it appears, and there is no guarantee he will get picked that soon.

Here are the 14 teams that missed out on the playoffs, and their odds for obtaining a top-three draft pick in the lottery, courtesy of Tankathon.com. Remember, the better a team’s odds, the less likely said franchise will be a landing spot for Oubre.

Minnesota, 64.3%

New York, 55.8%

Philadelphia, 46.9%

L.A. Lakers, 37.8%

Orlando, 29.1%

Sacramento, 21.5%

Denver, 15.0%

Detroit, 9.9%

Charlotte, 6.1%

Miami, 4.0%

Indiana, 2.9%

Utah, 2.5%

Phoenix, 2.2%

Oklahoma City, 1.8%

Some mock drafts out there have Oubre, a wing, as a late lottery pick. None of the prognosticators think Alexander, a post player, will sniff that range. Check out some various projections:

MOCK
DRAFTS
Kelly Oubre Jr.
projections
Cliff Alexander
projections
NBADraft.net 11th 35th
MyNBADraft.com 10th 30th
DraftExpress.com 12th 27th
HoopsHype.com
(1st round only)
11th N/A
DraftSite.com 21st 54th
Chad Ford, ESPN.com
(1st round only)
9th N/A
SheridanHoops.com 11th 27th
NetScoutsBasketball.com 24th 29th
BleacherReport.com 13th 25th
Sam Vecenie, CBSSports.com 10th 32nd
Gary Parrish, CBSSports.com 11th 30th
Zach Harper, CBSSports.com 8th 26th

Kelly Oubre Jr.

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) heads to the bucket against Iowa State guard Bryce Dejean-Jones (13) during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at Hilton Coliseum.

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) heads to the bucket against Iowa State guard Bryce Dejean-Jones (13) during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at Hilton Coliseum. by Nick Krug

— SF, 6-foot-7, 204 pounds, 19 years old, from Richmond, Texas —

Average mock draft position: 13th

Current high: 8th (Zach Harper, CBSSports.com)

Current low: 24th

Stock assessment: Oubre’s 9.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 44.4% shooting in his one season at Kansas don’t scream lottery pick, but it looks like he has a serious chance of landing in the top 14.

He struggled to adjust to the college game initially at KU and didn’t become a regular starter until late December. The learning curve will be even more difficult to navigate in the NBA, but that doesn’t mean general managers and scouts are going to pass on him.

Oubre’s 7-foot-1 wingspan makes him an intriguing prospect, especially on the defensive end of the floor. Even if it takes a year or two for the young wing to feel comfortable attacking on offense in The Association, he is athletic enough and has the right instincts to come off the bench and defend on the wing.

Here is a snippet of what DraftExpress.com has to say about the 19-year-old small forward’s offense:

“Offensively, Oubre's most NBA-ready attribute is likely his jump shot, as he has soft touch, natural scoring instincts, a nice follow-through and smooth mechanics when in rhythm. He was a little bit streaky at times (36% 3P%) as a freshman, partially due to shot-selection issues, but he has a nice foundation in place to make this part of his game a dangerous weapon with repetition.”

Cliff Alexander

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander (2) fights for position between Michigan State guard Denzel Valentine and forward Colby Wollenman (41) during the first half on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014 at the HP Field House in Kissimmee, Florida.

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander (2) fights for position between Michigan State guard Denzel Valentine and forward Colby Wollenman (41) during the first half on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014 at the HP Field House in Kissimmee, Florida. by Nick Krug

— PF/C, 6-foot-9, 254 pounds, 19 years old, from Chicago —

Average mock draft position: 31st

Current high: 25th (BleacherReport.com)

Current low: 54th

Stock assessment: In the best-case scenario for Alexander, some team at the end of the first round will take a chance on him and give him a guaranteed contract. If he slips into the second round, any team that drafts him neither has to commit to him longterm nor pay him anywhere close to first-round money (the last pick of the first round, No. 30 overall, receives more than $900,000 a year).

The 19-year-old big man, of course, finds himself in this predicament because he never really caught on in Bill Self’s rotation at KU, and then couldn’t even showcase his talents in the final eight games due to an NCAA investigation.

Before the off-court issues popped up, it seemed Alexander had figured some things out for himself when he put up back-to-back double-digit scoring efforts vs. Oklahoma and at Texas. But the freshman fell by the wayside again soon afterward.

If any good came of the 6-foot-9 post player’s tumultuous freshman season at Kansas, it’s that it should motivate him. Self often said after Alexander began sitting out that he worked harder than ever at practices in the final weeks of the season. If Alexander can carry that over to workouts in front of NBA executives and coaches, and impress the right people, he could get a chance in the league to show his full potential. Something he never achieved with the Jayhawks.


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.

Reply

Prev 1 2