The 2023 NBA offseason has left behind a number of talented players without a roster spot. For the Los Angeles Lakers, these remaining free agents are intriguing options to bolster a roster fresh off a trip from the Western Conference Finals.
One such player is Charlotte Hornet wing Kelly Oubre Jr. After averaging 20.3 points and 5.2 rebounds last season, Oubre has yet to secure an NBA roster spot as the available money for free agents lessens.
At only 6-foot 7-inches tall, the veteran wing can compete to defend taller rivals and has the athleticism to keep up with shifty guards. He has played on a myriad of talented rosters, including the Devin Booker-led Phoenix Suns until joining Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors in 2019.
Following a short stint in the Bay, Oubre, Jr. joined LaMelo Ball in Charlotte for the last two seasons. Though the Hornets still have Bird Rights to re-sign Oubre, drafting another tall wing in Brandon Miller may make Oubre’s presence superfluous for the developing team.
Although the Lakers have LeBron James and Taurean Prince at the small forward position currently, signing Oubre, Jr. might be a worthwhile move for the final roster spot in Los Angeles. The Lakers have reportedly searched for a backup center, namely Christian Wood after a dramatic season in Dallas, but have not confirmed a deal yet.
Acquiring Kelly Oubre, Jr. instead could be a great benefit for the Lakers, but he is not a perfect option either. Here are two pros and one con of Kelly Oubre, Jr. in Los Angeles.
Pro No. 1: Kelly Oubre Jr. would give the Lakers a volume shooter
Since entering the Association, Kelly Oubre, Jr. has attempted an average of 4.7 3-point attempts per game, connecting on 33 percent of them. Last season Oubre attempted a career-high 7.1 3-point shots each night out. Overall, his percentage is a touch under league average, but his confidence and willingness to shoot keeps defenses on their toes.
Additionally, only 14 percent of Oubre’s 3-point shots came from wide open attempts, per NBA.com stat tracking. His presence on the offensive end increases overall floor spacing, making room for both LeBron James and Anthony Davis to function as the primary playmakers. As a spot-up corner shooter, Oubre sank 38.3 percent of his corner threes, per NBA.com.
While his general stats are not jaw-dropping, Oubre would thrive in a corner shooting role with the Lakers, a role that would greatly benefit their 2023-24 campaign.
In free agency, the Lakers prioritized fit and depth, building upon the success they reached last year. Oubre, Jr. matches the offensive needs of LA, but his downsides may dampen the Lakers’ interest.