Assessing The Athletic’s P.J. Washington trade for the Milwaukee Bucks

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - JANUARY 08: (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - JANUARY 08: (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Bobby Portis, P.J. Washington
Apr 9, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The logic behind The Athletic’s P.J. Washington trade for Milwaukee Bucks

At 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds, the logic is clear for the Bucks in that they would be acquiring a player who would instantly be the biggest wing on the roster and help defend against Kevin Durant in a potential playoff series with the Brooklyn Nets (aka, the P.J. Tucker role but a bit bigger).

Also, at 23-years-old, he would be someone that the Bucks could keep beyond his rookie contract if he proves to be a good fit.

So, how would Washington fit in for the Bucks?

My ideal pickup for the Bucks is San Antonio Spurs veteran Thaddeus Young because of his size (which is similar to Washington’s) and defensive versatility. Washington, being in his third season, doesn’t have the same defensive prowess as Young, but provides the same defensive versatility while also being a much better offensive fit.

He’s a career 38.7 percent 3-point shooter on over four attempts per game and is shooting nearly 41 percent on the same volume this season. That instantly makes him a solid fit around Giannis Antetokounmpo when the Bucks go small and play him as the center.

Like Young, Washington can also play as a small-ball five and has been that for most of his career with the Hornets. Over the last two seasons, over 57 percent of Washington’s minutes have come at center, and according to Cleaning the Glass (subscription required), Charlotte has been considerably better with him at the five.

That positional versatility would very much come in handy in the playoffs when the Bucks need to unlock their Giannis-at-center lineups. They don’t have a wing or big forward that can reliably fill that role (Semi Ojeleye was supposed to) and Washington would slide right in and fill that easily.