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Prospect scouting report: P.J. Washington

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The Hornets need a long term solution at the forward spot to pair with Miles Bridges.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, the Charlotte Hornets used the twelfth overall pick to draft combo forward Miles Bridges. Bridges spent the majority of his time at the small forward position last year, and if the team elects to keep him there, they’ll have no viable long term plan at the power forward spot after Marvin Williams’ contract expires. P.J. Washington could be that long term plan.

Measurements

Height: 6’6.5” without shoes, 6’8” in shoes
Wingspan: 7’2.25”
Standing reach: 8’10.5”
Weight: 230 pounds

Strengths: Offensive versatility, defensive versatility, toughness/character

There isn’t really a glaring hole in Washington’s game. The biggest question mark surrounding his game after his freshman season was his outside shooting, but he upped his 3-point percentage to 42.3% as a sophomore. He even hit over 45% of his attempts from NBA range. He shoots it quickly and confidently and should become a solid pick and pop threat.

Washington is also good scoring inside the arc. He has a rudimentary but effective post game that should work when against mouses in the house. He prefers to use a baby hook over his left shoulder. It won’t be a go-to source of offense at the NBA level, but it can be utilized against switches.

He can put the ball on the floor a little bit. He can’t create his own looks from triple threat, but he can handle it well enough to attack closeouts and bring the ball up in the open floor. He’s a good passer for a big, averaging 2.5 assists per 40 minutes.

Defensively, Washington can guard just about anyone. He has the strength and length to battle on the interior and can move his feet well enough to stay in front of guards. He’s a perfect fit for the switch-happy NBA.

Everything I’ve read says Washington is a great kid and a hard worker. He proved his commitment to his team and his toughness by leading the Wildcats to a Sweet 16 win over Houston just days after having a cast removed from his foot.

Question marks: Is the shot for real, creating offense, off-ball defense

Washington shot well as a sophomore, but there are still questions about whether or not it’ll translate against NBA level competition. He shot only 66.3% from the free throw line as a sophomore, only 6% better than his freshman mark. He also shot a relatively low volume of 3-pointers. When the game speeds up and the close outs are coming faster, will Washington’s shot hold up?

It’s vital that his outside shot does hold up, lest Washington turn into little more than a garbage bucket getter. He has a decent handle, but doesn’t typically get all the way to the rim when attacking from the perimeter. That’ll become worse if he can’t make defenses respect his jump shot. His offense inside the arc was mostly right handed hooks and face up mid-range jumpers. Neither are going to be desirable shots in the NBA. If he isn’t knocking down his jump shots, can he help a team offensively?

Washington is a versatile on ball defender, but he isn’t much of a playmaker off it. He averaged 1.7 blocks and 1.1 steals per 40 minutes as a sophomore. Not bad, but not great. He floats at times and can get caught ball watching.

Overview

Washington doesn’t have any glaring flaws, but he also doesn’t have any one trait that you know he’ll be able to hang his hat on at the NBA level. He’s a jack of all trades, master of none. His profile on Tankathon is a perfect illustration of that. He has no statistical weaknesses and no pronounced statistical strengths.

Should the Hornets select Washington, he’ll shore up the four as a steady and reliable piece for the long term, but he might not have the pop the team needs to take itself to the next level.