NBA Mock Draft Pick #18 - P.J. Washington, Forward, Kentucky
SB Nation’s Indiana Pacers blog Indy Cornrows explains the pick:
The Pacers will likely have a need at the four spot with the pending free agency of Thaddeus Young, and P.J. Washington out of Kentucky gives the Pacers a talented front court player to help start filling that need for years to come. Washington is floating around the middle of the first round in most mocks and could fall to the Pacers thanks to perceived lack of upside. In other words, people have actually seen him play quite a bit because he spent two whole years at Kentucky. However, those two years were spent wisely as Washington improved his game after not proving one-and-done worthy his freshman year. At 6’8 with a 7’2 wingspan, Washington has the measurables to b a solid NBA four with the ability to knock down threes. During his second season he shot almost four times more threes than his freshman season while improving his 3-point percentage from 23.8 percent to 42.3 percent.
Washington also has a solid inside game with a smooth jump hook Myles Turner should envy. Those two offensive assets shows the kid knows how to work and deliver results. John Calipari does a good job preparing kids for the NBA and Washington led the Wildcats with 15.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game last year. Since Washington will be 21 by the start of next season, he should be ready to contribute to the playing rotation his rookie season. With Washington in the fold, the Pacers can focus the rest of their offseason (or should I say cap space) on shoring up the backcourt via trades or free agency.