P.J. Washington, Last Piece of the Puzzle?

August 14, 2023

Tony Camino

Making Sense of Rumors Surrounding Charlotte Hornets Forward

There are rumors going around that the Charlotte Hornets might be done with P.J. Washington, their restricted free agent. The Cavs are one of the teams that seem interested in getting the forward on board. But since the Cavs are dealing with some cap limitations, they’d probably need to set up a sign-and-trade kind of deal to make it work.

  • Versatility on both ends of the floor
  • Above-average floor spacer
  • Defensive ability

At 6’7”, Washington spent quite a bit of time on the court for Charlotte, switching between power forward and even getting some action as a small-ball center. His all-around skills make him a solid pickup for any team, and the way he spreads the floor fits right in with the Cavs’ core lineup.

Two-way versatility

In today’s NBA, having players who can adapt to various roles is a real game-changer when it comes to matching up against any team in the league. While most teams stick to a consistent rotation during the regular season, the playoffs introduce a whole new dynamic, where rotations shift with each series. Bringing in someone like P.J. Washington can seriously bolster the Cavs’ ability to go head-to-head with any team. He’s the kind of player who can defend positions 3 through 5 at a top-notch level and seamlessly fill diverse offensive roles.

The potential lineups with Washington are practically limitless, especially since they’ve also added the versatile shooter Georges Niang this offseason. Having both Washington and Niang on the court lets the Cavs maintain their size against bigger opponents like the Nuggets and Sixers, all while keeping the floor spaced well for their playmakers to do their thing. On the flip side, going with a smaller lineup and slotting Washington in as the five introduces a fresh dynamic that contrasts with the team’s approach in recent years. It encourages fast breaks, running the floor, and employing a true five-out offense. Not many players can adapt as smoothly to whatever the team requires, which is exactly why Washington is a spot-on addition to this crew.

Adding another shooter

This offseason, it was crystal clear that Koby Altman’s top priority was to bolster the team’s shooting. Watching the Knicks series, you’d think we were back in the 1990s with the floor spacing we had. Our star players were practically suffocated by the help side defense since there was barely any room for them to maneuver. We kept fielding a lineup of three guys who couldn’t hit a three-pointer, making life incredibly easy for the opposing defense to clamp down on us in the halfcourt.

Bringing in Max Strus, Georges Niang, and Ty Jerome will definitely open up more space on the offensive end, but adding someone like Washington would be the cherry on top for the off-season moves. Just last year, Washington knocked down nearly 35% of his shots from beyond the arc, taking almost six attempts per game. Throughout his career, he’s consistently shot around or above 35% from deep, putting up at least four attempts per game. Having the option to put five legitimate floor-spacers on the court is a seriously intimidating strategy twist, and it’s the kind of thing that can completely reshape a series for the better.

Defensive Ability

While the offense is the main area of improvement this offseason, this Cavs team’s identity has been on elite defense these past few years. Washington isn’t a dominant rim protector because of his size, but he has a slight weakness in his defensive arsenal. He’s quick enough to switch on to quick guards for a short span and big enough to handle strong wings and posts in the paint. While he isn’t the ideal matchup on a true, back-to-basket center, he can lock up a good portion of smaller big men and thrives defending the power forward position.

Just this past postseason, teams like the Lakers have shown lineups with a wing-like Rui Hachimura playing the five, which worked very well for them in short spans. Washington will usually be one of the better defenders on the court and being able to insert him anywhere based on the needs of that game is such a game-changer especially come playoff-time.


P.J. Washington stands tall at 6’7” and shines as a wing who’s got a knack for sinking shots and handling one-on-one scenarios. His talent in setting screens and locking down players across positions 3 through 5 elevates his appeal as a coveted asset for any team gunning for a championship. Now, it’s quite probable that making the deal work might involve letting go of someone like Isaac Okoro, but bringing in a player who’s all about versatility from the get-go could just be the icing on the cake for what’s shaping up to be an impressive Cavs offseason.

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