With the 2019 NBA Draft just two weeks away, many talented prospects are eager to hear their names called. One of these prospects is the University of Kentucky star P.J. Washington. The 6 foot 8 power forward has been projected by most to be a mid-first round pick. He enjoyed a successful two years with Kentucky before declaring for the NBA Draft. So how will Washington’s talent translate once he gets to the NBA? Let’s break it all down below.
2019 NBA Draft Player Profile for P.J. Washington
Washington was a five-star recruit coming out of High School and ESPN’s 11th overall recruit. Many different colleges recruited him, but ultimately he agreed to play for the Kentucky Wildcats. Washington’s Freshman season was filled with ups and downs. He quickly became a starter and was a solid contributor throughout the season averaging 10.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. On the season he shot a solid 52 percent from the field, but an underwhelming 24 percent from beyond the arc. More impressively though, he did all this while playing through a broken pinkie finger injury. In the offseason, he had surgery to repair the break and was ready to go for the 2018 season.
He was much improved in his sophomore campaign and became a key component in Kentucky’s Elite Eight run. He improved in all major categories averaging 15.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. His three-point shooting also made a noticeable improvement as he shot 42 percent from deep. For his efforts on the year, he was named to 1st team All-SEC, and was a 3rd team All-American.
Offensively, Washington plays with a lot of energy and is always a threat to make plays. He is a very smart player with a great sense of awareness of what is going on around him. His aggressive play along the interior makes him adept at drawing fouls and making his way to the line. In transition, he is a natural finisher and is incredibly difficult to defend. He possesses underrated strength and uses it to bully opponents in the paint. As a mid-range shooter, it is hard to find a much better player than Washington. He will knock down those shots with ease if given even the slightest bit of room. One of the biggest things he has going for him his willingness to get better. He worked hard to improve his entire game, especially his three-point shot. His passing skills are evident and with more work could become elite. Defensively, he is a solid on-ball defender and possesses the natural size and strength to stick to most players. While he isn’t an elite rebounder, he consistently gets the job done. Overall, he is a complete player on both sides of the ball with room to grow.
Washington is undersized for an NBA power forward at just 6’8” which as a result, might make his game limited to a small ball style. While his three-point shooting was much improved, he was very inconsistent. He shoots the ball in streaks and will need to become much more polished if he wants to survive as an NBA power forward. Defensively he is a good on-ball defender, but off the ball, he is absolutely horrendous at times. He’ll look lost at times and let players just slip by him for easy shots. Overall he has few flaws, but if he doesn’t get them cleaned up he could have big problems at the next level.
NBA Player Comparison
P.J. Washington is a mix between two players. Brooklyn Nets forward DeMarre Carroll and former NBA player Carl Landry. His style compares to Carroll because of the mentality both bring to the floor. His comparison to Landry is because both players were great low post scorers in college. Washington is a little better in the mid-range and from three than Landry at the same point in their careers, however, Landry developed an excellent mid-range game over the course of his career.
NBA Draft Projection
Washington has lots of talent and potential to be a very good player in the league. Washington has the type of body that should be able to survive the rigors of the NBA season. He will not be an early first-round draft pick due to the talent above him, but he could very well sneak into the end of the lottery. He will likely be drafted somewhere in the 12-22 range. If teams are looking for a star he likely isn’t who you want, but if they want a player that can positively impact and give his all he is the guy to turn to.
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