We already know PJ Washington is going to the NBA Draft Combine, and he’s already working to impress NBA teams.
However, Washington is doing so with his lingering finger injury, which was reported back in late March. PJ’s father, Paul Washington, said that his son may need surgery to repair the injury, but no surgery ever came.
Now with a week before the combine, Paul told the Courier-Journal that his son will still need surgery at some point. He also revealed that his son has met with NBA teams already and will continue to do so prior to the combine. That includes the Celtics, Bucks, Clippers, Timberwolves and Nets.
The fact that PJ is already getting that many workouts in before the combine shows that there’s definitely interest in him going into the draft. How much that is and if it’s enough to make PJ a late first or early second-round pick remains to be seen, but that’s what Paul believes his son will be looking for.
“It’s real simple — if he’s guaranteed a first round pick, then he’ll stay in the draft,” Paul said. “If he doesn’t get that, we’ll have to make a decision. It’s PJ’s decision. Now, if he doesn’t get a first-round guarantee and a team says he’ll be an early second round pick, then PJ might say he wants to do that. That’s his decision as well. But the easiest thing is if he gets a guarantee in writing that he’ll go in the first round.”
I just can’t see any team giving Washington a guarantee that he’ll go in Round 1. Even a guarantee to go in early Round 2 feels like a stretch at this point.
Washington’s numbers during his freshman season didn’t jump off the page, but he was efficient and effective in the paint while proving to be one of, if not UK’s best defender. He averaged 10.8 points on 51.9 percent shooting with 5.7 rebounds per game.
Washington is currently listed 51st on ESPN’s latest big board and on Sports Illustrated’s. NBADraft.net has him ranked 63rd.
With the lingering finger surgery, that’s bound to hurt Washington’s stock at least a little bit. He’s going to have to do really well at the combine and in private workouts to convince teams he’s even worthy of a second-round pick.
It’s going to be a close call that probably comes right down to the deadline on May 30th.
Be sure to read the Courier-Journal piece for more thoughts from Paul on his son’s NBA prospects.
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