By LARRY VAUGHT
Remember not long after Charlotte made P.J. Washington the 12th overall pick in June’s NBA draft and then Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak hinted that the Kentucky star might spend some in the G League this season.
Well, he still might see the G League but it’s going to be a while after he scored 27 points on 7-for-11 shooting from 3-point range in his NBA debut Wednesday that helped the Hornets beat Chicago 126-125.
Washington’s seven 3s set an NBA record for a player making his debut — something he had no idea about until he was told during a postgame radio interview.
“Definitely I used that as motivation,” Washington said when asked about the g League. “It’s not a bad thing to go down to the G League and produce and get some playing time. But I didn’t want to. I wanted to be up here on the biggest stage and improve my game every day.”
No one could reasonably expected this impressive start since considering the most 3-pointers Washington made in a game at UK was five. However, I still remember the first time I saw him at Marshall County Hoopfest and watched a practice his father/coach, Paul Washington, let me attend. I was immediately impressed by how Washington could shoot from outside.
“The college game was way different. The NBA is about 3’s and layups. In college you grind it out. The NBA it’s either a 3 or a layup,” Washington said.
Charlotte plays again tonight and Washington expects to see more defensive attention on him.
“I don’t think they are going to give me any type of breathing room and that opens up more (for teammates). I will just have to adjust to way teams are guarding me now,” Washington said.
Washington did have one regret about his first NBA game.
“I wish I had got more rebounds. I kind of slacked on that. I have to clean that up a little bit,” Washington said.