NBA Scouting Report: PJ Washington
  • Tirdod Behbehani

NBA Scouting Report: PJ Washington


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PJ Washington

Position: Forward

Year: Sophomore

School: Kentucky

Measurables: 6’8”, 228 lbs, 7’3” wingspan

Lateral Quickness: 6.50

Above average lateral speed for his side. Quick footspeed. Does a good job of staying in front of his man, quick recovery speed

Speed and Athleticism: 6.00

Runs the floor well for his size, great mobility. Very strong, filled out in both upper and lower body. Natural athlete, but not really explosive, uses power more. Good body control, actually has the ability to sidestep when going full-speed to the rim

Dribbling: 4.00

Not really a dribbler. Doesn't protect the ball well, most of his turnovers stem from just easy opponent swipes at the ball. Very powerful driving to the rim. Hesitant to go left. Does dribble with head up. Takes advantage of his shooting prowess by attacking closeouts

Passing: 7.00

Really good passer and vision. Great feel. Able to pass on the move. No lazy passes, all with good velocity. Shows good awareness with early passes right from catching the ball. Represented by 13.4 Assist%, which is a high number for a big who doesn't initiate offense through dribble drives

Free Throws: 6.60

66% FT shooter on high .489 FTrate. Does a good job drawing fouls by throwing himself into the lane

Outside Shooting: 7.50

Keeps defenses honest with 42.3 3P%. Looks to do damage as pick-and-pop threat and as a trailer. Really smooth jumper, quick release. A bit of an outside-elbow flare and could get his heels a little higher on shot release, but otherwise, sound mechanics

Mid-Range Game: 7.00

Quality mid-range scorer. Able to pull up with ease or back down his man. Looks to jab-step and get his man off balance. Good floater too, 81st percentile on runners (Synergy Sports)

Decision Making: 6.50

Good decision maker, attributed to high offensive awareness and feel. Very smart offensive player. His 15.8 TO% shouldn't be an indictment of him making bad passes, as fair amount of turnovers come from losing the ball on the dribble. Does force things at times though, such as misreading post help and hurling a pass into a tight space. Would like him to be more aggressive in exerting his will on the defense

Finishing: 6.00

Able to use good body control and dexterity to finish around the rim, wields a 66.7FG% around the rim. Shows flashes of being able to finish through tight spaces. Despite his size, does need to improve being the initiator and finishing through contact, usually comes up short on contested layups. Similar result on putback misses. Needs to be more authoritative

Post Up: 6.50

Relies on power, while also having an array of post moves too. Go-to move seems to be post-hook with right hand. Not great at recognizing when to seal his man. Much better from left block than right block, 82nd percentile as opposed to 42nd percentile (Synergy Sports). Capable of using left hand, but doesn't seem too comfortable with it

Off-Ball Play: 7.00 Quality screen setter. Good cutter and roll man, 69th and 52nd percentile, respectively (Synergy Sports). Adept at lulling his man to sleep and escaping his line of vision. Does a good job using this to cut to the basket and/or get to his spots

Rebounding: 7.50

Springs off the ground quickly. This in addition to his size and length make him difficult to keep off the glass, especially on the offensive end. 10.1 ORB% and 19.9 DRB%. Always a threat on putbacks, shot 70.8% on putbacks at the rim (Hoop-Math). As previously mentioned, most putback misses are significantly undershot. Needs to be more engaged

Defensive Effectiveness: 7.00

His defensive intensity is inconsistent. Can just go through the motions. When he's focused, however, he's actually a quality defender. Good recovery speed. Defends with his hands up, uses length well. Defends on toes, does bite too easily on fakes because of this though. Good instincts, helps early. Can be upright off-ball. Makes some good reads when he's not checked out. Can get out-muscled for positioning despite being bigger, need more fight. Think he can be a good NBA defender

Blocking Ability: 5.50

Decent shot blocker, possesses a 4.8BLK%. Important to note that this is up 1.3% from his freshman season. Does a good job contesting shots vertically. Definitely think he can improve as a shot blocker if he becomes more aggressive

Steals/Disruptiveness: 4.00

Low 1.7 STL%. Similar to Blocking Ability comments, lack of aggressiveness hurts him here. This is a bit worrying

Leadership Ability: 6.00

Per word of mouth, emerged as a leader for his Kentucky team this past season. Became noticeably more vocal too, which is encouraging

Intangibles: 6.00

Great feel and basketball IQ. Inconsistent motor.

Strengths:

Outside Shooting, Passing, Size and Length, Rebounding, Off-Ball Play, Agility, Feel

Weaknesses:

Dribbling, Consistency, Finishing Through Contact, Defensive Focus

Overall Analysis:

PJ Washington is an undersized power forward from the University of Kentucky who projects to be a late lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. I'm really interested in Washington's potential: I think he has a lot to offer on both ends of the floor. Offensively, Washington can hit shots from the outside, keep the ball moving, and intelligently move around off the ball. Defensively, he has received a lot of criticism for just going through the motion, which is warranted. However, when he's not just going through the motions, he's actually a pretty good defender. He does a good job staying in front of his man and understands how to use his length to his advantage. With the aforementioned points in mind plus his agility, he should be a switchable defender. Given his rebounding prowess coupled with his length, there's some small-ball-5 potential too. If Washington can stay focused on a more consistent basis on the defensive end, he has the tools to be an above-average defender in the NBA. All in all, I think Washington has the talent be a top 10 Prospect in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Pro Comparison:

Ceiling: Paul Millsap. Likely Outcome/Median: PJ Tucker

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