The Charlotte Hornets power forward spoke to FanSided about a variety of topics, including what he thinks the team needs to do to make the playoffs next season.
Back in March, the Charlotte Hornets were trying to make a push for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. On March 11, the Hornets earned a huge win over the rival Miami Heat by the score of 109-98. That would turn out to be their final game of the season, sadly, as the NBA was shut down that night after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. When the NBA and NBPA agreed to terms on a return-to-play plan, 22 teams were invited to Orlando, Fla. to participate in playoff seeding games. The Hornets, however, were not one of those teams.
During an exclusive interview with FanSided, Hornets rookie power forward PJ Washington revealed how the Hornets can make the playoffs next season.
“I think for us, we just have to buy into the system,” said Washington. “Everybody has to be on the same page and everybody has to have the same mentality each and every night. And we have that right now. I feel like we’re capable of making the playoffs.”
Washington shined with the Hornets from the start
The Hornets selected Washington with the 12th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft out of Kentucky. Washington immediately won a spot in the team’s starting lineup, and he had an NBA debut to remember.
During Charlotte’s regular-season opener against the Chicago Bulls, Washington made 9-of-17 shots from the field and 7-of-11 shots from behind the three-point line for 27 points, while also tallying four rebounds, one assist, one block and one steal in 38 minutes, leading the Hornets to a 126-125 victory.
In 58 games his rookie year, Washington averaged 12.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists, while accumulating a 45.5 field-goal percentage and 37.4 three-point percentage.
Who knows how the Hornets’ season would have ended if the coronavirus pandemic never altered the entire world. Charlotte had 17 regular-season games remaining and were seven games behind the Orlando Magic for the eighth seed, so there was a chance they could have squeaked into the playoffs.
The Hornets have the majority of their corps returning for next season, which will allow them to improve upon their overall game. Additionally, Charlotte holds the third-overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, so they’ll be adding a certified stud to the squad. Washington’s blueprint could come to fruition next season, resulting in the team’s first playoff appearance since the 2015-16 season.
PJ Washington spoke on behalf of SportBLX, an innovative investment platform that allows fans and investors anywhere in the world to own shares of unique assets in sports.