The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...
2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: P.J. Washington
Age: 20 (turns 21 in August)
Max vertical: N/A
2018/19 stats: 15.2 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.8 apg, 0.8 spg, 1.2 bpg, 52.2 FG% (5.4/10.4), 42.3 3PT% (0.9/2.2), 66.3 FT%
Player comparison: Paul Millsap, Marcus Morris
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 20th, NBADraft.net 18th, Bleacher Report 18th, Sports Illustrated 14th, Ringer 10th
5 things to know:
*Washington is one of the rare Kentucky draft prospects that isn't a one-and-done. He decided to return to school last season and raised his stock with improvements across the board. Some mock drafts have him going as high as the lottery and most believe he will be a first round pick.
*He improved his outside shooting significantly from his freshman to his sophomore year. After making only 23.8 percent from three in 2017-18, he hit 42.3 percent on 2.2 attempts per game this past season. That suggests he could become a stretch-four at the next level.
*Exactly what position Washington will be best at in the NBA is unclear. He is sort of a tweener forward with some perimeter skills, but he was at his best in college in the lane. That could work in his favor if some team believes he is ideal for this new age of positionless basketball.
*There are mixed reviews about his defense. Some evaluators wonder about his motor and his ability to force turnovers. But he has also been praised for his versatility and he has a 7-2 wingspan, which suggests some upside.
*Washington played for Penny Hardaway's AAU team and both of his parents were Division I basketball players at Middle Tennessee State.
Fit with Wizards: Washington would be a great fit for the Wizards and not just because of his name. They need more forwards and he could add depth at both the three and the four. He could also help with rebounding, which is arguably their biggest weakness.
The biggest question for Washington would be whether the Wizards can find someone better at No. 9. There will probably be someone with more star potential on the board. Washington might be more of a safe pick, someone with a high floor but that doesn't have the ceiling of a Bol Bol or even his college teammate, Keldon Johnson.
Regarding his name, believe it or not, the Wizards have only had one player in franchise history named 'Washington.' That would be Stan Washington, who played one game for them in 1975. P.J. could be the second.
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