Charlotte Hornets forward PJ Washington was somehow on the right side of an encounter with Brooklyn Nets superstar forward Kevin Durant — which isn't often the case for anyone in today's NBA. Not only did Washington get the better of Durant at the rim on Sunday evening, but he did so in impressive fashion.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this play is actually on the scoreboard as the Hornets lead the Nets by five points through three quarters. Entering the Sunday evening showdown in Charlotte, the Nets had been absolutely steamrolling teams early on in 2020-21.

The 22-year-old Washington was originally selected by the Hornets with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft out of Kentucky. Currently in the midst of his second second atop the highest level, Washington appeared in 58 regular season games for a middling Hornets team as a rookie in 2019-20 while making 57 starts along the way. During that same span, the up-and-coming forward averaged 12.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.8 blocks per game. He also averaged 30.3 minutes per game as a result of his first go-round with the Hornets.

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Granted the 2020-21 regular season remains in its very early stages, Washington was averaging an even 11 points and 25.5 minutes per game for the Hornets heading into the Sunday showdown against Durant and the Nets.

The Hornets are searching for an identity in the Eastern Conference, realizing how deep the East currently is. With the Nets being a title contender alongside the defending East champion Miami Heat, plus the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacers, and Philadelphia 76ers being part of the mix, the East is a rough place. The Atlanta Hawks have a much-improved team, and there are other contenders for the No. 8 seed in the East.

The Hornets have their work cut out for them, but if PJ Washington can thrive, that certainly raises the floor for this group.