Should the Washington Wizards roll the dice on PJ Washington?

PJ Washington of the Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Joshua Gateley/Getty Images)
PJ Washington of the Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Joshua Gateley/Getty Images) /

With the Washington Wizards finally embracing a rebuild, some have pitched the idea of signing 24-year-old PJ Washington who is still somehow a free agent. Problem is, this may not be the best course of action for the franchise.

The Hornets’ big man is coming off the best season of his career where he averaged 15.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game. He has continued his effective three-level scoring, although due to an increase in attempts there was a dip in his percentages.

The Washington Wizards could add to their young core by signing PJ Washington

One of the key aspects of rebuilding in the NBA is acquiring young players. at 24 years old, Washington still fits that category. This alone is enough to make some sort of argument in favor of signing the power forward.

Even further though, he is an elite stretch big who has shown the ability to slide over to both the small forward and center positions. This is an incredibly rare combination of skills for any player to possess. Although, I would not recommend giving him heavy center minutes due to his six-foot-seven frame.

He would also be one of the best post players on the team from day one. Daniel Gafford’s ability in that regard is limited and there aren’t any other scoring bigs on the roster other than Mike Muscala and Danilo Gallinari.

Not only could he be valuable on the floor for the Wizards, but he could also help mentor the young forwards. Patrick Baldwin Jr has an incredibly similar play style to both Washington and Gallinari, both of whom can help mentor the 20-year-old.

Just because signing PJ Washington has a ton of positives doesn’t mean they outweigh the negatives of signing the young forward.

Signing PJ Washington would not be a good decision for the Washington Wizards

There are plenty of reasons why signing Washington would be a bad decision by the Wizards.

First, he is reportedly asking for somewhere in the range of $15-20 million for a one-year contract. This seems ridiculous as he is still a free agent two thirds of the way through August. Free agency started nearly a month ago, he isn’t getting that kind of money.

Second, one of the primary goals of the Wizards revamped front office this season is to create a winning culture. This is why players like Delon Wright, Kyle Kuzma, and Danilo Gallinari are still on the roster and likely won’t be traded until the trade deadline at the earliest.

Adding any player from the Charlotte Hornets is a risk to that goal, especially a player who doesn’t play defense. If they were to find a way to bring in a defensive specialist like Mark Williams, the answer would likely be very different.

Finally, he would take away minutes from the young core. Kyle Kuzma, Deni Avdija, and Patrick Baldwin Jr both see their best production at the power forward position. Adding another starting caliber player to that mix would force two of them to play heavy minutes at the three. This would take minutes away from Corey Kispert and Bilal Coulibaly as well as the other three forwards listed above. That is not a smart gamble to take.

Overall, it is not a good idea for the Washington Wizards to pursue PJ Washington, even as just a sign now-trade later option. The risk to the current young players on the roster is just too great when compared to the best-case scenario from signing the young forward.

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