With the Charlotte Hornets hearing of the news of Miles Bridges, it isn’t exactly set in stone that they are going to re-sign him. Someone is going to have to step up to the plate and help out LaMelo Ball. That pressure should fall firmly on PJ Washington’s shoulders. Now, that does not mean that he has to fill it up offensively and turn into a 20 plus points per game scorer. He needs to become a more consistent offensive threat to help this team take a step forward.

PJ Washington the Hornets X-factor amid Miles Bridges offseason woes

Why PJ?

Washington is entering his fourth year with the Hornets. It’s time to step up and embrace the role of being a leader on the team, even if he is only 23 years old. He still has room to grow his game out, but he has shown flashes of what he can be from time to time. A versatile stretch four, who can soak up some minutes at the other forward spot if need be. He is a solid defender at both spots and can be a reliable offensive weapon on the outside at times. His game is well rounded already, now it’s just time to take it up a few notches.

It might not have been required prior to the Bridges situation, but the Hornets will likely need him more now than ever.

Got to see what he looks like with more touches!

There are times when Washington fades out on offense because of the lack of touches. If he is able to develop some shot creation skills in the offseason, we can see his 15.7 % usage rate increase on that end of the floor. We’ve seen Washington do most of work either off of catch and shoot situations or post-ups at the elbows.

The Hornets are going to need him to get better off the ball and moving without the rock. He needs to get himself going with easy baskets around the rim off of cuts and simple pick and roll sets. It’s not like he needs to get the ball at the top of the key and go to work every possession. He just needs a chance to put the ball in the hoop to boost his confidence.

What this means for LaMelo, Hornets

The Hornets already have guys that can score in Ball, Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward, and others, but adding one more guy to the mix just adds to this teams versatility. If PJ Washington can find a way to amp up his productivity on offense, the Hornets have an even better shot to making it into the postseason. Plus, it helps when Washington is a defense first guy as well. He’ll give his all on that end of the floor to be rewarded with a touch or an opportunity to score or make a play on the other end.

Having more guys that are trustworthy offensive players takes the pressure off of guys like Ball and Rozier. Those two are counted on to take a bulk of the shots throughout the course of the game. They can get some possessions off when other guys step up. This will allow the both them to make more plays for others and not worry about finding their own shot.

With the Hornets and other NBA teams hesitant to sign Bridges, and rightfully so, Washington’s development could be an important storyline to follow. His rookie deal is coming to an end. This could be a make or break for both parties moving into the 2022-23 season.