Out of the Kentucky Wildcats players left in the draft that have yet to sign an agent, PJ Washington has the most difficult decision to make.
The power forward put up good numbers at the combine and looked good in the scrimmages in which he participated. He and his father have stated multiple times that unless he gets a guarantee that he will be drafted in the first round, he will be returning to Kentucky.
But it’s not that simple. It’s rare that teams give players any type of guarantees unless we are talking lottery range. There are too many unknown variables to consider for teams to pledge draft spots to fringe players.
So what it will come down to won’t be a promise but whether or not Washington wants to stay or go.
Three Reasons to Go
- Get Money Now- The question isn’t if PJ Washington is drafted, it’s where will he be drafted. If he does decide to stay an NBA team will take him at some point, the second round being likely, and he will have the opportunity to make a team. Even if he doesn’t make an NBA roster he will be able to play in the G-League and earn money via that route.
- Playing Time- There is a scenario in which Washington’s role at Kentucky is diminished. If Jarred Vanderbilt returns and is healthy and if EJ Washington is as good as advertised, then Washington’s minutes could actually go down. If that happens then he most certainly won’t be drafted in the first round next season.
- College Life- It very well could be the case that Washington isn’t a fan of the college life. Some players, like DeMarcus Cousins and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, loved being at UK and John Calipari had to force them out the door. Others, like Isaiah Briscoe and Daniel Orton, couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Even though Briscoe stayed an extra season, class wasn’t his favorite place to be. College isn’t for everyone and maybe Washington doesn’t feel like school is part of his plan right now.
Three Reasons to Stay
- Next Year’s Draft- The analysts don’t like the class of 2019 very much. Outside of the elite guys, they are down on the overall talent of the group. If PJ Washington decides to stay he is almost guaranteed a spot in the first round with the chance to play himself into the lottery. If he comes back and dominates the SEC like he can, he will do nothing but help himself for next season’s draft.
- Redemption- Although he was the one guy that we could all point to and say “he played his butt off against Kansas State in the Sweet Sixteen” the missed free throws ended up being the story for PJ. Those missed shots weren’t the entire reason why Kentucky lost but it was a big part of it. If Washington comes back he can redeem himself.
- Chance to be on a Great Team- There is a chance that the 2018-19 Kentucky Wildcats could be the best team in college basketball and having Washington on the team would put them over the edge. In fact, if Washington comes back the Cats would be the undisputed number one team in the country heading into the season.