Kelly Oubre Jr. shows why he’s the steal of free agency in 76ers debut

Kelly Oubre Jr. - Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
Kelly Oubre Jr. - Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports /

Kelly Oubre Jr. shines in 76ers debut

Kelly Oubre Jr. came off the bench and scored early and often for the Sixers in his team debut.

27 points | 9-11 FG | 5-6 3PT | 4-4 FT | 32 minutes | +14 (team high)

The new-look Sixers fell to the Milwaukee Bucks by a final score of 118-117 in the team debut of superstar Damian Lillard. The Sixers signed Oubre Jr. late last month and his impact in game 1 makes him the early frontrunner to be the best off-season acquisition for this team.

The NBA journeyman has found himself a new place to call home in the city of brotherly love after previous stops with Washington, Phoenix, Golden State, and most recently, Charlotte. With the Hornets, Oubre Jr. averaged over 20 points per game during the 2022-2023 campaign. Oubre Jr. is a bit of a breath of fresh air for Sixers fans who were happy to see the team bolster their wing depth. Oubre Jr. is a proven three-level scorer who can create opportunities for himself off the dribble, a rarity for the second-units of recent memory in Philadelphia.

Going up against the NBA’s newest superstar duo, the shorthanded Sixers managed to scrap and claw their way to just a one-point loss in Milwaukee. An early first half deficit of 19 did not keep the Sixers from fighting back and making this a tightly contested game down the stretch. Three of the names that you would expect produced in the scoring column for the Sixers. Tyrese Maxey contributed 31 points, Embiid finished with 24, and Tobias Harris poured in 20 on an incredibly efficient 8 of 9 from the field. In his team debut, veteran Kelly Oubre Jr. accomplished a stat-line that he had not previously achieved in his first 527 NBA games. Thursday night, Oubre Jr. went for 20+ points while shooting 80% from the field and 80% from beyond the arc for the first time in his career.

In the end, Damian Lillard’s 39 points carried the Bucks to the slight victory over the Sixers. After the Sixers took a lead in the fourth quarter, it was a crucial Lillard 3-point basket to make it a score of 105-104 and put the Bucks ahead for the remainder of the game.

Next Up: Toronto Raptors

The Sixers will be back at it again on Saturday night in Toronto as they look for their first victory on the young season in Nick Nurse’s return to Scotiabank Arena.