Worst Starter No. 11 – Kelly Oubre Jr.
2019-20 was a gap year for the Golden State Warriors, with Kevin Durant leaving, Klay Thompson missing the entire season and Stephen Curry playing just a handful of games. Coming out of that year, the Warriors looked to stock up for a run back to the playoffs.
They fell just short, and a major reason why is Kelly Oubre Jr. On the surface, he seems like the kind of player who probably shouldn’t be on this list. He’s a career 33 percent shooter from deep with some creativity creating with the basketball, long arms perfect for snagging steals, and has averaged at least 15 points per game in five different seasons.
The reason that Oubre lands on this list is that he was a colossally poor fit with the Warriors’ core. Steve Kerr runs a motion offense that is heavy on read-and-react principles, especially adjusting to Curry’s movements to give him space to create magic.
Instead, Oubre was frequently running right into the action, even memorably running right into Curry one time. The Warriors were 11.7 points per 100 possessions worse when Oubre was on the court than when he was off; given that they barely missed the playoffs, that could very well have been the difference between making another run and missing the playoffs entirely.
In fact, the Warriors nearly made the playoffs thanks to a 15-5 finish to the season. That closing stretch coincided with Oubre missing 15 games due to injury and coming off the bench for the other five. Everyone was happy to let him move on after one season.