This past Monday night, Kelly Oubre Jr. came off the bench for the first time as a member of the Golden State Warriors. He initially started in the team’s first 50 games, but eventually head coach Steve Kerr decided to pull the plug.
Although the Warriors invested more than $82 million in bringing Oubre onboard to replace the production of Klay Thompson, the transition simply hasn’t been as smooth as anyone had hoped for.
As such, moving Oubre to the bench became necessary.
“It’s not easy for any player to go from starting to the bench,” Kerr said, as noted by Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports.
“He told me, obviously, whatever we need to do to win. His attitude has been great. I’m going to try and help him through the process of coming off the bench and we’ll do everything we can to make him as comfortable as possible.”
That said, Kerr genuinely believes Oubre can thrive in a different role.
“We need him to perform at a high level,” Kerr added. “… if we can maintain the same energy we’ve had at the start of games with that starting lineup and then bring Kelly in to be a force off the bench, I think it could make a big impact for us.”
In the lead-up to this year’s NBA trade deadline, the Warriors actively tried to move Oubre. When a deal didn’t materialize, Kerr clearly realized that something needed to change.
Oubre is averaging 15.2 points and 6 rebounds per game this year, while shooting 44% from the field and 31.5% from beyond the arc. In his most recent game, a showdown against the Washington Wizards, he scored 24 points and handed out 9 rebounds.
How will Oubre ultimately fare as a sixth man? Time will tell.