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Trail Blazers Take Kentucky Forward PJ Washington in Early Mock Draft

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SI’s 2019 NBA Mock Draft has the Blazers looking for help in the frontcourt.

NCAA Basketball: Utah at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 NBA Draft is half a year away, but that’s not stopping analysts from speculating which NCAA players might fit with various teams in the pros. SI’s The Crossover recently published their latest mock draft. After sending Duke phenom Zion Williamson to the Atlanta Hawks, the Crossover crew gave the Portland Trail Blazers University of Kentucky forward PJ Washington at 22.

They explained Portland’s need for the 6’7 sophomore thus:

Provided his motor is running, Washington’s low-maintenance rebounding and scoring should translate better to the NBA game than college, when paired with better guards and given additional space to operate. He’s athletic enough to compensate for some of his lack of size defensively, and continues to show improvement as a jump shooter to help solidify his utility the other way. After the Blazers drafted two guards last season, they could turn to the frontcourt with this pick. As long as their team is driven by the backcourt, guys like Washington who don’t need heavy touches to be effective will be useful.

Washington is averaging 13.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game for the Wildcats this season on 51.7% shooting from the field, 47.1% from the arc.