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Kentucky sophomore P.J. Washington declares for NBA draft

Houston v Kentucky

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 29: PJ Washington #25 of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts against the Houston Cougars during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 29, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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Of the 15 first-round picks from Kentucky the previous six years, 14 were freshmen: Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Bam Adebayo, Jamal Murray, Skal Labissiere, Karl-Anthony Towns, Trey Lyles, Devin Booker, Julius Randle, James Young, Nerlens Noel and Archie Goodwin.

Kentucky sophomore P.J. Washington will attempt to become the oldest Wildcat first-rounder since Willie Cauley-Stein, the No. 6 pick in 2015.

Washington:

Washington is viewed as a mid-first-round pick. He was one of the SEC’s most improved players.

But how much will that improvement translate?

Washington will turn 21 before his rookie year, making him old for his class. He looked physically advanced relative to college opponents this year, but will that translate to the NBA?

Washington made 42% of his 3-pointers, but that’s still on a small sample (33-for-78) – especially after shooting just 24% (5-for-21) last season. Will he maintain his long-range shooting?

Washington is a good, not great, athlete. Will the 6-foot-8 power forward play big enough at the next level, particularly defensively and as a rebounder?

Washington can point to his improvement, and that should impress NBA teams. He’s a nice player who appears to be on the right track. He must continue progressing to justify his draft projections.