WASHINGTON — The NBA has released the rosters for the annual Rising Stars Challenge, and the only Wizards player who stood a chance of making the cut is nowhere to be found.
Kelly Oubre, who has played all but two games for the Wizards this season and started once, was left off the Team USA roster. This isn’t a huge surprise, as he has only recently upped his production, but it’s not entirely unreasonable to think he could have made the team.
For the season, Oubre is averaging 6.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.2 blocks and 0.7 turnovers in 19.9 minutes per game. He’s shooting .433 from the field, .327 from 3-point range and .769 from the free-throw line. Over the past 10 games, however, he’s putting up 8.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.5 blocks and 0.7 turnovers in 24.1 minutes per game while shooting .478/.394/.769.
The format for the showcase changed three years ago, switching from rookies vs. sophomores to the U.S. vs. the world. Only rookies and sophomores are eligible, meaning the only Washington players who could have made it were Oubre, Tomas Satoransky, Daniel Ochefu, Sheldon McClellan and Danuel House, but only Oubre has played enough minutes to be realistically considered. The second-year player out of Kansas has played 857 minutes through Wednesday, while Satoransky has played 437, McClellan has played 233, Ochefu has played 43 and House has played just one minute.
Among the more surprising inclusions on the roster are Los Angeles Lakers rookie Brandon Ingram, Charlotte Hornets sophomore Frank Kaminsky and Phoenix Suns rookie Marquese Chriss.
Here is how Oubre compares to each of those three players this season, per NBA.com:
Oubre vs. Ingram
Oubre vs. Kaminsky
Oubre vs. Chriss
This is the last season Oubre is eligible for the Rising Stars challenge. Even though he didn’t make the cut, he is showing signs of improvement and looks like he could end up being a legitimate weapon off the bench for the Wizards moving forward.
He’s scored 10 or more points in each of the past four games, and he had four games in December of at least 15 points. He has seven career games of at least 10 points without a turnover, three of which have come in the past three games. Per John Hollinger’s Game Score system, four of Oubre’s 10 best games as a pro have come in January, and eight of them have come this season.
Though he’s not technically a Rising Star, he’s still kind of a rising (potential) star in his own right.