It hasn’t been forgotten that the Golden State Warriors suffered a horrible start to their current season after receiving yet another blowout loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night. The Warriors started their season on the losing end of multiple blowouts then just recently getting back on track right before the All-Star break. After Thursday night’s tragic loss, the Warriors have fallen to the tenth seed in the Western Conference with a record of 19-19.
Also having a slow start to the season, small forward Kelly Oubre Jr. has been able to turn his play around, performing much better than he had when he first joined the team. In an interview, the 25-year-old opens up about his struggles earlier in the season and why he thinks this happened.
Oubre Jr. Reveals Why He Had a Slow Start
According to him, it was actually money that made him overthink the game, in addition to the massive amount of pressure. In an interview with Marcus Thompson of The Athletic, Oubre Jr. revealed one specific factor that affected how he played earlier in the season.
“When I first got here, to the Warriors, I was feeding into all the pressure of the salary-cap stuff, the contract year. You know, the new team that I would really love to make this a home for me in the future. I was kind of putting too much pressure onto myself.”
This season with the Warriors, Kelly Oubre Jr. should be earning $14.4 million, which is how much is left in the final year of his current contract. Unfortunately, when the team acquired him during the offseason, it caused them to go a little over their salary cap, which is not beneficial on the administrative end, causing them to have to pay over $60 million in taxes. Apparently, this did not sit well with Oubre Jr.
“When I got out of my head and I just put my focus and my energy into my craft and everything that was most important to me in my life, I think that’s when I knew I turned the corner.”
Working to Get Better
During the entire month of February, Oubre Jr. averaged 20.1 points per game and shot at 50.2 percent, which is much better than how he played at the beginning of the season, barely able to make an impact on the floor. In the months of December and January, the 6-foot-7 forward was averaging 12 points per game, shooting at 37.2 percent.
In Oubre’s defense, his first training camp with the team was dramatically reduced due to COVID-19. This also caused them to have a limited amount of practices before the tipoff of the season. Because of these two actors, Oubre Jr. didn’t get to fully practice and get acclimated with his new team before having to go into their first game of the season.
Now it’s evident that Oubre Jr. has somewhat adjusted to his new team and is playing much better than he was to begin the season. Although he has been mentioned in trade rumors and is nearing the end of his contract, the question remains if he will be able to consistently play like he is.