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NBA Trade Rumors: Memphis Grizzlies should make an ambitious splash for Kelly Oubre Jr.

Kelly Oubre Jr. is turning out to be one of the better players of the 2015 NBA draft class.
Kelly Oubre Jr. is turning out to be one of the better players of the 2015 NBA draft class.
Rupam Nag
ANALYST
Modified 16 Sep 2020, 04:00 IST
Rumors
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The Memphis Grizzlies have one of the most exciting set of young players in the NBA right now, led by Rookie of the Year point guard Ja Morant. Jaren Jacken Jr., Dillon Brooks, and Brandon Clarke, among others, make up the remainder of this thrilling squad of professionals. There haven't been a lot of NBA trade rumors linking the Grizzlies to trades.

This doesn't come as a surprise, though, given that most of their roster is contracted until the 2021-22 season. Truth be told, the Memphis Grizzlies can afford to do absolutely nothing this offseason and still be okay.

The aim of the franchise right now is to continue developing their young pieces to perhaps challenge for the NBA Championship in the future.

However, when there is an opportunity to make a move, the Memphis Grizzlies should be ambitious and try to improve their roster, even if the circumstances don't necessarily demand change.


Also Read: NBA News Update: Gordon Hayward ruled out of Game 1 against Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors to pass on Lamelo Ball


NBA Trade Rumors: Kelly Oubre Jr. could give the Memphis Grizzlies an excellent starting 5

Memphis Grizzlies could undoubtedly look for an upgrade on Kyle Anderson.
Memphis Grizzlies could undoubtedly look for an upgrade on Kyle Anderson.

The Memphis Grizzlies field Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Jonas Valanciunas to start a game when they have no injury issues to deal with. That is an excellent starting 5 already, with the potential to be elite in the future. If at all one had to point out a potential weakness, it would likely be Kyle Anderson at small forward.

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Anderson is 26 years old right now and has two years remaining on his current contract, which sees him bag nearly $20 million per season. However, one can argue that the former San Antonio Spurs man doesn't necessarily justify his hefty contract. He is a very efficient scorer, converting around 49% of his shots from the field.

But that is the least one would expect from a player who barely scores 6 points a game. He is not much of an outside threat, as he has dropped less than 28% of his threes since joining the Memphis Grizzlies. His defense isn't extraordinary either.

The Memphis Grizzlies don't need to force an upgrade at the small forward position, but there is clearly room for improvement. And Kelly Oubre Jr. would be a definite upgrade.


Kelly Oubre Jr.'s career statistics

Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns
Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns

Career points per game - 10.9

Career assists per game - 0.9

Career rebounds per game - 4.1

Career field goal % - 43.1%

Career 3pt % - 32.9%

24-year-old Phoenix Suns forward Kelly Oubre Jr. enjoyed a career year in 2019-20. In fact, he has gotten better and better in all four of his seasons since his rookie campaign in 2015-16. As it stands, Oubre is an 18.7 points per game scorer on 45% shooting.

He isn't an outstanding defensive player, but can be a handful to evade, as his 1.3 steals indicate. His athleticism is off the charts and some of his dunks are incredibly smooth.

At 6'7" tall, the former Washington Wizards star can develop into a great perimeter defender if he works hard, while also being one of the best slashers in the NBA at the offensive end. The way he has improved continuously is the most encouraging aspect of his game and the sky is the limit for him.

The Memphis Grizzlies want to contend for the Championship in the future and would benefit from the potential addition of the ever-improving Kelly Oubre Jr. Not only would he make the Grizzlies starting 5 much better, he could potentially form an All-Star-level trio with Morant and Jackson Jr. in a few years from now.


NBA Trade Rumors: Who goes the other way if Kelly Oubre Jr. joins the Memphis Grizzlies?

Memphis Grizzlies could also offer Tyus Jones.
Memphis Grizzlies could also offer Tyus Jones.

The Phoenix Suns have looked better without Kelly Oubre Jr. starting for them. They would find it tough to extend his stay with the franchise if they cannot offer him a starting role. Perhaps, it is in the best interest of both parties involved if Kelly Oubre Jr. is allowed to leave this offseason.

Kyle Anderson will likely have to move the other way, with Justise Winslow already occupying the 2nd unit small forward spot. Tyus Jones could be another option if he's valued a bit more by the Phoenix Suns.

Either way, the Grizzlies will, in all probability, have to include more assets in the form of draft picks. Managing to pull off this trade would be a great coup for the Memphis Grizzlies.


Also Read: NBA Trade Rumors: 5 moves involving Julius Randle that the New York Knicks must consider

Published 16 Sep 2020, 04:00 IST
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