With 30 seconds before his team’s hopes evaporated, TyTy Washington provided just one more spark of optimism.
No. 2-seeded Kentucky was trailing No. 15 Saint Peter’s 81-76 in the first round of last season’s NCAA Tournament. Washington, a Wildcats guard who’s among the NBA odds leaders to be drafted first overall, held the ball and his team’s aspirations in his hands.
He drove from the left wing to the top of the key. With minimal space, two opponents tried to alter his ensuing shot from 3-point range.
He connected. In a dire situation, Kentucky still had a chance.
Washington could similarly elevate a professional squad.
TyTy Washington Draft Odds
Washington is tied for the 12th-best NBA Draft odds to be selected first overall at +50000. Jabari Smith of Auburn is first at -300, while Duke’s Paolo Banchero is second at +275 and Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren is third at +400.
The Orlando Magic have the first overall pick after going 22-60 a year ago. The Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets pick second and third, respectively.
|Name||Position||Team||1st Pick Odds (6/22)|
|Jabari Smith Jr.||F||Auburn||-300|
|Dyson Daniels||G||NBA G League Ignite||+50000|
|MarJon Beauchamp||G||NBA G League Ignite||+50000|
|Jaden Hardy||G||NBA G League Ignite||+50000|
|Nikola Jovic||F||Mega Mozzart (Serbia)||+50000|
|Blake Wesley||G||Notre Dame||+50000|
TyTy Washington Draft Pick Projection
Washington could thrive if he ends up with the Oklahoma City Thunder with the No. 12 overall pick.
The Thunder, who went 24-58 last season, were 17th in defensive rating, 24th in rebounding percentage, 27th in net rating, 29th in effective field goal percentage, and last in offensive rating. But those numbers could change if they add Banchero with the second pick and Washington.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a 23-year-old point guard, led the Thunder with 24.5 points per game last season. Washington and Gilgeous-Alexander would have to find a way to mesh on the floor together.
Either way, Washington likely wouldn’t face immense pressure right away. At the very least, he could provide pivotal energy off the bench for a team that needs depth.
Weekend workouts ⚡
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) June 11, 2022
TyTy Washington Stats
Washington accomplished much in his one year at Kentucky. He was a Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award semifinalist, an All-SEC second-team selection, and an all-conference freshman team pick.
Though he missed three games due to injury, he made 29 starts in 31 appearances. He was second on the team in scoring (12.5 points per game), assists (3.9 per outing) and steals (40) to go with 3.5 rebounds a contest.
Washington made 45.1% of his shots, 35% of his 3-point attempts and 75% of his free throws. He was the only freshman in the nation to average 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game while shooting at least 45% and 35% from deep. In addition, he had an SEC-best 2.35 assist-to-turnover ratio.
His assists per game were also ninth in the conference. His 17 dishes in a win over Georgia beat a program record previously owned by John Wall.
Washington totaled three or more assists 21 times. He also scored in double figures in 20 games while leading his team in points in five outings.
The only players in @SEC history to earn the Freshman of the Week accolade in four-consecutive weeks:
1. John Wall
2. Nerlens Noel
3. Devin Booker
4. TyTy Washington Jr. pic.twitter.com/cRcXvBjaV1
— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) January 17, 2022
TyTy Washington Draft Profile
Washington would bring energy to an NBA offense with highlight passing and speed.
Though he’s not the tallest NBA hopeful, the 6-foot-3 guard is a creative passer who often thinks one step ahead of his opponent. He doesn’t waste movement with precise footwork and keeps defenders guessing where he’ll go next.
Washington is an effective shooter, especially off of passes and screens. But he also can turn to his step-back and behind-the-back dribble move to gain separation.
He can get a shot off in an instant. This helps him connect from even well beyond the arc, but it also means he can sink shots from the paint on drives and fast breaks. On midrange floaters, he can shoot off-balance and on the run.
An excellent ball handler, Washington should at least find a place as a play-creating point guard in the NBA. He should have little issue carving out a role among professionals.
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