Associated Press

Washington averaged 10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds in 27.4 minutes per game last season at Kentucky. 

By Bobby Sullivan
June 20, 2019

The Charlotte Hornets selected Kentucky forward PJ Washington with the No. 12 pick in the 2019 NBA draft.

Out of high school, Washington was a top 15 recruit that received offers from a number of Power 5 schools such as Kansas, Arizona, Texas and North Carolina. However, Washington chose to play under Calipari at Kentucky. He played for the Wildcats for two seasons.

In his freshman season, Washington averaged 10.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, and played 27.4 minutes per game. Although initially declaring for the NBA draft, Washington decided to return to Kentucky for his sophomore season.

This year Washington, accumulated 15.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. After being knocked out in the Elite Eight by Auburn, Washington announced he played with a broken pinky throughout the season and would get surgery to treat it in the summer.

SI NBA draft expert Jeremy Woo's breakdown: Washington took the type of sophomore leap many hoped for, turning in a consistently productive season and establishing himself as Kentucky’s top player. While he’s not a huge upside guy, it’s pretty clear his base set of skills make sense together projecting forward. Washington has always been a sound finisher around the rim, and his jump shot continues to improve. He’s mobile, bouncy, and his rebounding, passing and defensive positioning enable him to impact games when he’s not scoring. Washington should fit cleanly into a rotation role early in his career.

Woo's Grade: B+

I like this pick for the Hornets overall—they need help in the frontcourt and get one of the more NBA-ready forwards on the board here. Washington made major strides as a sophomore, and if his jump shot is for real, he could be an ideal small-ball forward. Charlotte didn’t take a home-run swing here—Sekou Doumbouya was on the board—but Washington is a solid option.

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