PJ Washington has decided to test the NBA Draft waters. He announced the decision on Twitter, while also including that he won’t sign with an agent, so he’s simply seeing where he stands in terms of the NBA:
“After meeting with Coach Cal and talking through my situation, I am going to test the waters and see where I stand after my freshman year,” Washington said. “I want the fans to know that I love school, I love this program and I love Kentucky. I’m not in a hurry to make any type of decision but Coach believes I should evaluate where I am right now.”
John Calipari encouraged this move, so this is probably just Washington seeing what the NBA thinks of him before returning to UK.
“PJ and I met and talked this week about his future and the process that he would be able to go through if he chose to,” Calipari said in a press release. “I think it’s very important that each kid understands where he stands at this point in the eyes of professionals. He’s improved physically and mentally. His ability to play winning basketball isn’t even close to where it was at the beginning of the season. I’ve seen a tremendous growth in all those areas. Like all these kids, I would like to continue to coach PJ, but I’m going to support him as he goes through this process.”
Washington didn’t jump off the page, but he was efficient and effective in his freshman season. He averaged 10.8 points on 51.9 percent shooting, and also put up 5.7 rebounds per game.
Washington brought a lot of intensity, strength and inside presence this year, and was a highlight reel machine when he was at his best.
Washington likely won’t get a positive return in the draft process, as he’s recovering from finger surgery. His draft projection will likely depend largely on his recovery.
With more time, Washington will have a good chance to become an undersized big that is currently a commodity in the NBA. At 6-8, he could be a 4, or even a small-ball 5, if he can develop into a Draymond Green type.
I would expect Washington to return to UK, but it’s nowhere close to being a lock, and it won’t be a major shock if he stays in the draft.
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