The Golden State Warriors‘ new swingman Kelly Oubre Jr. ” felt really good” right after what turned out to be his final workout as a member of the Phoenix Suns. In a new, detailed interview with The Athletic’s David Aldridge, Oubre Jr. discussed exactly what happened as he walked off the court and into his new reality.
“First off, when I heard I was getting traded, I had just finished working out at the Suns’ facility. Just had a killer workout too, felt really good. And then I go and just check in with everybody before I’m leaving, just like I always do. And I just see people lookng at me with like a glare in their eyes. I was like, hmm. And then Cheick Diallo, he came up to me and was like, ‘hey, my boy, check Twitter.’ I don’t really get on social media like that. So I just went around and I asked Frank (Kaminsky), ‘hey, man, where am I going?’ ‘Cause I already knew I had got traded. So I was like, ‘where am I going, bro?’ And he was like, ‘OKC.’ And I said, all right. I just kind gave everybody a final goodbye, made my way around the room, and I left. It was another weird trade story that I can put under my belt.”
The other weird trade story Oubre Jr. is referring to is the trade that sent him to Phoenix. NBA players are traded all the time, however, that specific trade sent mayhem throughout all three teams (Phoenix Suns, Memphis Grizzlies, Washington Wizards) involved. Some players were mistaken for others by the opposing front office members which resulted in the deal being called dead before later resuscitating it and sending Oubre Jr. and now New York Knick Austin Rivers to the Washington Wizards, for now, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Trevor Ariza.
Yet this is a new beginning for Oubre Jr. Being a rising talent in the NBA who deserves quality playing time, and who will become a free agent after the 2020 – 2021 season, he would not have been a perfect fit with the Thunder. They’re currently entering a rebuilding phase that would clash with the goals he may have for his career moving forward. Being a member of Golden State, Oubre Jr. has the chance to showcase what he can do on a global stage on a nightly basis since he will essentially be the replacement for star shooting guard Klay Thompson who tore his right Achilles last Thursday.
Will Oubre Jr. Fit on the Warriors?
While many teams may trade for players to add to their team it doesn’t always work out how they want. Sometimes a bad fit is simply a bad fit. Other times it can be the last piece of weight that can crack an already leaky foundation. With this acquisition, both sides hope that it will work in their favor. In speaking about what he can add to this team, Oubre Jr. said being the best he can be as a two-way player.
“Honestly, man, I bring a lot of fire to the court, a lot of energy. They have a lot of weapons, of course, but I’m also a weapon, on offense and defense. I feel I can kind of bring that flux of just lucid, positionless basketball back to the organization. I can guard one through five. I can play one, two, three, four, stretch four if I need to. I just want to fit in seamlessly and just be the best me I can be, and that’s a two-way player.”
The Warriors will be in dire need of Oubre Jr. to continue to improve his production just like he did in Phoenix. Last year was a breakout season for him as he improved his numbers and stayed consistent with his play on both ends throughout the season. While shooting 35.2% from beyond the three-point line, he averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 assists per game. This type of play will again, be a necessity for this Warriors team as they will rely heavily on him, star guard Steph Curry, forward Draymond Green, former #1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins, and #2 overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft James Wiseman to carry them to through the tough western conference.
Curry’s Emotional Reaction to Thompson’s Injury
In speaking of the Warriors’ 2x MVP, Curry was moved to tears when he heard about the injury to his star running mate. General manager Bob Myers and head coach Steve Kerr gave Curry a call after hearing of the news themselves and wanted to report it to him first.
“He’s the best 2-guard in the league,” Curry said. “To get that call was a gut punch for sure. A lot of tears. You don’t really know what to say because a guy like that is having to go through two pretty serious rehabs now. But at the end of the day, we have to have his back. We hope that he is around and a part of what we do through his rehab and staying connected with us.
There is a chance the Warriors may never look the same again as some hall of fame analysts have predicted. There’s also the chance that they regain their form of old with injections of youth in Oubre Jr., Wiggins, and Wiseman. All we can know for sure is every day we’re closer to finding out who they really are with the NBA season beginning on December 22nd.