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2019 NBA Draft - Community Draft Board: Rangy Sophomore P.J. Washington Goes at 15

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His return to school did him a whole lotta good

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

We officially have our first choice in the 2019 Brew Hoop Community Draft Board. In a narrow race, P.J. Washington edged out Kevin Porter Jr. by a mere vote to take the fifteenth slot in our draft board.

A top-15 recruit coming out of high school, P.J. Washington elected to return for a second year at Kentucky, a rarity for Coach Cal’s First Round Factory down yonder. While it may’ve already placed him in the “lower ceiling” category given it’s an inevitability for players that return to school, he showed marked improvement across plenty of key categories. His effective field goal percentage leaped from 52.9% to 56.7% on the back of nearly 4X the 3-point attempts as his freshman year (still only 78, to be fair), but knocking down a solid 42.3% of those. Just as important for a guy his size, he juiced his defensive rebounding percentage from 14.8% to 19.9%, tops on his Kentucky squad.

You want someone who absolutely dominates the college boards if you hope their rebounding could translate to the NBA. His rate still isn’t stellar for his size and position, but his 7’2.25” wingspan could help him corral a few boards given he stands at only 6’8”. That length doesn’t come with a huge frame though, so slapping some steak on those bones would be imperative for any strength coach. He might be undersized to be a passable five in the NBA, but perhaps he could do it in stints. His mobility should be a boon to his potential to function within an increasingly switchy defensive league.

He’s got a smooth-looking release from deep though, with mechanics that look relatively repeatable. His minimal amount of attempts could expose a worse jump shooter than he showed in college, but I’m sure teams see plenty there to work with. Most of his points came from using his overpowering athleticism at the college level to attack quickly from the elbow or in the lane after getting an entry pass. He has the size and passable dribbling skills to work past guys fairly efficiently, and certainly doesn’t have trouble bounding off the floor. He may be overly reliant on his post game to find a ton of success offensively from the outset, but his 28-point outburst against Final Four-bound Auburn showed a solid face-up game to go along with a couple triples:

For a large human, he also flashes some preternatural court awareness. Take a look at this compilation of his passing ability:

The ones that really impress me are attacking the close-out and still kicking to the perimeter man for a triple, as well as the excellent passing within close quarters in the post. So often, those dishes just get knocked down or fumbled by teammates. More length in the NBA may snuff those cramped passes out, but being able to kick out to shooters is a skill imperative for many teams, Milwaukee in particular.

It seems incredibly unlikely Washington would somehow drop to the Bucks at 30, but if he did, he’d seemingly make another excellent forward to slot into the likely absence of Nikola Mirotic next season. Ersan only has one more guaranteed year left too. Getting another rangy forward with the potential to harness his defensive athleticism into Milwaukee’s scheme would seem like a coup. Especially if his shooting holds up.

So now we move onto number 16. As an FYI, I’m going to have the poll run all the way until early Sunday morning, so expect your next entry then.

Poll

My pick for the #16 spot on the community draft board is...

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Kevin Porter Jr. - SG, USC
    (26 votes)
  • 15%
    Romeo Langford - SG, Indiana
    (11 votes)
  • 18%
    Nickeil Alexander-Walker - SG, Va. Tech
    (13 votes)
  • 5%
    Cameron Johnson - PF, UNC
    (4 votes)
  • 5%
    Grant Williams - PF, Tennessee
    (4 votes)
  • 19%
    Tyler Herro - SG, Kentucky
    (14 votes)
72 votes total Vote Now

Brew Hoop Draft Board Rankings

  1. Zion Williamson - PF, Duke
  2. Ja Morant - PG, Murray State
  3. Jarrett Culver - SG, Texas Tech
  4. R.J. Barrett - SG, Duke
  5. Darius Garland - PG, Vanderbilt
  6. Coby White - SG, UNC
  7. De’Andre Hunter - SF, Virginia
  8. Cam Reddish - SF, Duke
  9. Sekou Doumbouya - PF, Limoges CSP, France
  10. Nassir Little - SF, UNC
  11. Jaxson Hayes - C, Texas
  12. Rui Hachimura - PF, Gonzaga
  13. Brandon Clarke - PF, Gonzaga
  14. Goga Bitadze - C, Mega Bemax, Adriatic Basketball Association
  15. P.J. Washington - PF, Kentucky