Charlotte Hornets: Keeping PJ Washington at center could be the answer

Charlotte Hornets PJ Washington. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets PJ Washington. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

While the Charlotte Hornets were not able to win on Sunday against the Atlanta Hawks, the team still had some good things to take away from the game.

Even though PJ Washington sprained his ankle on Sunday and could not finish the game, the Hornets still need to look at keeping him at the center position. Last week, head coach James Borrego decided to shake up the starting unit, which is why Washington started at the center position the last three games.

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We’ve seen Borrego utilize his small-ball lineup during games, but not in the starting lineup until now. During his three starts at center, Washington averaged 12.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game.

His recent play over the past three games at center has been a big improvement from his cold stretch in his last nine games. While a lot of this move was because of Hayward’s injury, the Hornets still managed to go 2-1 with their current starting lineup.

Moving Washington to center has also helped Miles Bridges and  Jalen McDaniels. This move also made it possible for the Hornets to finally have a starting lineup of players who can consistently shoot threes.

Before Washington got hurt on Sunday, the Hornets had not used Bismack Biyombo in the previous two games. It’s unclear why Biyombo has not been playing, but it could’ve been because Borrego wanted a starting unit that was fast and could score.

Washington playing center has significantly helped Charlotte’s defense. His speed has made it possible for the Hornets to effectively switch off players on defense and keep up with who they’ve been guarding. While Washington’s size may not be ideal for the five spot, he still has made a difference in the transition game.

Hopefully, the Hornets can get Washington back soon because this lineup was working and opening up the team’s offense. If Washington is not able to go, Charlotte could look at moving Cody Zeller back into the starting unit or could shift one of the current starters to center. Overall, it’s clear that Borrego wants more offense on the floor.

Next. 3 players who must step up in Gordon Hayward’s absence. dark