Kelly Oubre and Nick Young are gifted, flashy players who were drafted midway through the first round of the NBA Draft by Wizards' GM Ernie Grunfeld. Based on this information, it's easy to jump to the conclusion they're essentially the same player, and thus, Oubre is headed down Young's career path which will inevitably end with Oubre firing up bad shots for a lottery team and trying to get R.Kelly to sing explicit songs at his wedding.
But as easy as it is to make that comparison, it's also wrong. Conor Dirks has already eloquently argued against labeling him a "knucklehead" at Truth About It) and now I think it's time to distinguish what makes him different from Nick Young. After watching Oubre's performance at Summer League, where he averaged 14.3 shot attempts per game and only 1.3 assists, you might be tempted to think he'll end up playing a similar role in the NBA. So to clear things up, here are several reasons why Kelly Oubre and Nick Young are still very, very different:
- Kelly Oubre is a better ballhandler than Nick Young. Oubre may not have great court vision, but he's already shown he's capable of initiating the offense and avoiding silly, unnecessary turnovers. Oubre probably won't develop into anything special as a passer, but he won't put the offense in as many bad situations because of how he handles the ball either.
- Nick Young grew up in Southern California, and you can see how he's spent his life trying to turn himself into the 1999 version of Kobe Bryant, with a Daniel Day-Lewis commitment to detail. Oubre, on the other hand, is trying to model his game after Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, and James Harden.
- SCIENCE. Identical twins don't even have the same DNA, so why should we expect two people from completely different backgrounds to play the same way?
- Kelly Oubre said he reads WorldStarHipHop a lot, so he has different off-the-court tastes than Young, who prefers to blog about fashion.
- Actually, Kelly Oubre didn't say he reads WorldStarHipHop a lot, that was Kristaps Porzingis. It's weird how players never seem to fit inside the bubble we try to put them in.
- Kelly Oubre is longer than Nick Young. According to measurements database on DraftExpress, Young and Oubre are practically identical in terms of height and weight. But there are some differences that affect how they'll fare on the NBA level. Oubre's wingspan is a full two inches longer than Nick Young, which will make him peskier on the defensive end. The tradeoff is Oubre's max vertical jump is three inches lower than Young's, so he won't be able to pull off some of the crazy mid-air acrobatics Young has been known to show off, for better or worse.
- Environment matters. When Nick Young joined the Wizards, he was joining a locker room led by Gilbert Arenas that was also working on developing Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee at the same time. Things are different now. Could Oubre still flame out? Of course, but at least he'll have a better chance at maximizing his potential than Nick Young did.
- Nick Young does not have a close, personal relationship with Kevin Durant, unlike Kelly Oubre. In fact, Nick Young's USC squad knocked Kevin Durant and the Longhorns out of NCAA Tournament in 2007. This makes them very different in the way that matters most for the Wizards' future.