PJ Washington: A look back at the Kentucky forward’s 2018-19 season
You may have heard that the NBA Draft takes place Thursday night in Brooklyn. ESPN’s coverage starts at 7 p.m.
You may have also heard that Kentucky has three players who are expected to be drafted. Those would be PJ Washington, Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro.
With that in mind, here are some mock drafts you might want to check out.
Reid Forgrave of CBS Sports has PJ Washington headed to the Boston Celtics, who are apparently about to lose Al Horford. “Washington is a great story of a talented player who could have been drafted a year ago — but returned to Kentucky, worked on his body and improved his offensive skill set. He went from a tentative 23.8% 3-point shooter as a freshman to a talented 42.3% 3-point shooter as a sophomore. That’s no small feat. He’s got a high ceiling.”
Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated has the Celtics taking Washington’s teammate Tyler Herro. “Herro would be an attractive fit in Boston, who league sources believe have serious interest and lack clarity with their backcourt going forward. He’s become a viable option for teams in the late lottery due to his potent jumper and developing off-dribble game. His stock is considered to be pretty safe in this range. Herro is one of the better perimeter scorers in the draft, and one of the few who couple outside shooting with some legitimate long-term upside.”
Jonathan Givony of ESPN has his final mock draft out. Warning, you must be an ESPN Insider to access it.
Krysten Peek of Yahoo Sports has Keldon Johnson headed to the Atlanta Hawks. “The Hawks could get a handful of players in this draft class who could be solid complementary pieces to Trae Young. Johnson is a standard wing who can slide down and play the two. He can knock down the three and is explosive in transition.”
Chris Stone of the Sporting News has Keldon Johnson dropping to No. 21. “The Kentucky wing isn’t great at any one thing - other than his high character - but he’s good enough at plenty of valuable things, including shooting from the outside, scoring in straight-line drives and defending multiple positions. Oklahoma City’s needed to expand its collection of two-way wings for quite some time. Johnson would help.”
Gary Parrish of CBS Sports sees New Orleans going for De’Andre Hunter at No. 4. “The Pelicans are interested in moving this pick — and, if they move it, it’ll probably be to a franchise interested in drafting Garland. So keep an eye on that. But, if New Orleans uses the pick, and keeps Lonzo Ball and Jrue Holiday on the roster, the best non-point guard available is Hunter — the two-way wing who shot a nice percentage from 3-point range this past season while earning NABC Defensive Player of the Year honors.”
Pro Basketball Talk’s Rob Dauster has a mock draft for NBC. He writes of Indiana’s Romeo Langford, “An Indiana schoolboy legend turned Hoosier that goes to play for the Pacers is just too good of a story, isn’t it? There are some very real reasons to be concerned about Langford’s upside — namely the poor perimeter shooting and the fact that he is right-hand dominant — but he spent the season playing through a thumb injury that required surgery. He’s a risk, but at No. 18, it’s a low-cost risk that could return value, both on the court and in ticket sales, if he maximizes his upside.”
Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report says Darius Garland is on the rise. “It says something about Garland—and maybe more about this class as a whole—that he’s perhaps the fourth-highest regarded prospect despite playing just four full college contests before a meniscus tear derailed his run.”
Ben Golliver of the Washington Post predicted the lottery picks, which included one ex-Cat. “Holding three first-round picks (Nos. 14, 20, and 22) and staring at a possible identity crisis if Kyrie Irving leaves as a free agent, the Celtics are one of the NBA’s most combustible teams right now. Anything can and should be on the table now that their Davis dream is dead. If this pick isn’t traded, the 6-8 Washington covers ground on defense and is comfortable working both inside and outside on offense — key attributes for Boston big men in recent years.”
Sam Vecenie of The Athletic has Boston going with Tyler Herro at No. 14. “Herro has a range of something like No. 13 to No. 20. He’s had strong workouts with Boston and Indiana, and he fits both of their toughness and confidence cultures perfectly. While the Celtics now have a lot of options all over the board following the impending departure of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, I ultimately think they’re just going to take the best player available in their opinion at each and every pick. In Herro’s case, he fits the Danny Ainge model to a T as a highly confident, swagger-filled player who you never have to press to work hard and play at 100 percent.”
Bryant Wilkerson of the Greensboro News and Record on where the players from Duke, North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest might go. On former North Carolina guard Coby White: “White’s meteoric rise will continue on Thursday night as he’s poised to become a top-10 pick after one season as a Tar Heel. Not bad for a kid that some said couldn’t cut it against competition better than he faced at Wilson’s Greenfield School. Known for his scoring in high school, he certainly proved he could do that in Chapel Hill, but his versatility and personality could make him a superstar at the next level.”
By the way, ESPN will allow Adrian Wojnarowksi to tip picks.