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Daily Digits: Kelly Oubre played like the 5th starter in the Wizards’ win over the Blazers

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NBA: Washington Wizards at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Daily Digits is a new daily feature we’re doing at Bullets Forever this year where we take a look at stats about the Wizards. We’ll dive into the numbers, add some context, and discuss how they affect the product on the court.

Today’s stat is Kelly Oubre’s playing time in Washington’s 125-124 win over Portland, which was...

39:23

The Wizards needed something to get them going after Ian Mahinmi struggled early—picking up two fouls and missing his only shot in 4 minutes of action—and Oubre finally answered the call. He finished just 61 seconds short of setting a new career-high in playing time, despite coming off the bench, and put together arguably the most efficient performance of his career.

When you look at the highlights, it doesn’t look like much changed from his approach at the start of the season, so I’m a little hesitant to declare that he’s back and ready to stake his claim for a starting spot. However, this performance was a reminder that the Wizards can unlock their best lineups when he’s playing well, especially while they wait for Dwight Howard to return.

There’s an argument to be made for keeping the starting unit as is until Dwight Howard returns so that the bench can develop some continuity, and the starters get used to playing with a traditional center to start the game. If that’s the way they choose to keep going, so be it. But if they do that, they need to continue to make sure they’re giving Oubre as many chances as possible to find some rhythm. He won’t always go 9-of-13, but the threat that he could opens up so much for the rest of the team.