• Sudeep Tumma

Scouting Report: TyTy Washington's Pace and Patience Will Propel Him Forward

He's next up from Kentucky.

John Calipari sought an altered path to construct Kentucky’s roster this season. It wasn’t the typical four, five five-star freshmen in the starting lineup for the coach. Instead, he packed it with three highly-touted transfers, a budding junior and one heralded freshman.

His name is TyTy Washington.

The 6-3, 197-pound point guard arrived in Lexington as one of the top recruits in the nation, but he has primarily played shooting guard for the Wildcats next to All-SEC Georgia transfer Sahvir Wheeler.

Still, Washington is Kentucky’s bonafide backup guard when Wheeler hit the bench.

Washington has proven he’s a capable floor general with his playmaking prowess and ability to run an offense. He’s averaging 4.1 assists on the year. The highlight was his SEC-record 17-assist game against Georgia when Wheeler was out with injury.

He isn’t an ultra-advanced passer, but he’s an astute passer with solid passing vision. With his high IQ, Washington patiently soaks in double teams and finds teammates.

He makes fundamental bounce passes, lobs, skip passes and hits kick-outs and dump-offs.

Washington makes cerebral decisions as a floor general. It’s not just about tallying assists, he’ll push the ball ahead in transition, make entry passes and hit the simple passes to teammates who can create offense.

He appears comfortable as the 1-guard. He does a great job balancing creating offense for others and scoring himself.

As an SG, he’s handed more opportunities to score. And score he does.

He’s not an elite athlete with a terrorizing first step, but he navigates through defenses with his deft handles and change-of-pace ability. This isn’t to say he isn’t athletic at all. He’s still a solid athlete with a good first step who understands how to attack.

Washington is most lethal with his mid-range and floater game. He has an innate ability to navigate through the defense, get to his spots and feel out space around him to score off the dribble. He’s adept at stopping on a dime and/or utilizing the step back to create space and hit off-balance jumpers in the middle area.

He’ll do it while attacking a closeout, and he’ll do it in pick-and-roll sets. He’s especially gaudy in those sets when he can scorch the defense as a scorer or passer.

When Washington gets going downhill and the help defender drops back to protect the rim, Washington will pull out his polished floater and make the defense pay.

He also does a splendid job when he finished at the rim. He possesses good balance and body control as a driver with a nice euro step laced in and the ability to finish through contact.

Washington is patient and deliberate with his approach, which makes up for some of the athleticism lapses. As a result, he’s shooting 51.7% on his 2-pointers while averaging 12.2 points.

Even when he plays off-ball, Washington thrives in those situations. He moves swiftly off screens with good burst.

He also does a good job feeling out when his man falls asleep and executes fruitful backdoor cuts. He slides well across the perimeter to open spaces and spot-up shooting opportunities.

Although he’s shooting only 33.7% from deep, he’s a legitimate threat from beyond the arc. He can shoot off the bounce and thrives off the catch. And he’s got NBA range.

He has apt straight-line speed to run in transition and make plays.

As a whole, Washington provides a high floor as a scorer with a fully-loaded arsenal. He makes wise decisions with only 1.6 turnovers a game, but he’ll need to improve his left hand. He can dribble and attack with either hand, but he can only finish with his right.

He’ll also need to improve his rebounding. Averaging 3.4 rebounds, Washington rarely crashes the boards. He spends the majority of his time ball-watching when the ball goes up.

The rebounding number is indicative of his effort. With his 6-9 wingspan, Washington could be a much better rebounder if he commits on that side of the ball.

The wingspan does help an area that was long considered a weakness: defense.

Washington likes to hound and harass ball-handlers on the perimeter. In those one-on-one situations, he typically does a solid job and can create turnovers. But he falters in pick-and-roll coverage.

He switches matchups with ease and slides as a weak side help defender, but he has a tendency to overpursue. He can get caught ball watching and leave too much space for a shooter — which results in a late contest — or opens a backdoor cut.

Washington is tallying 1.3 steals, and his overall defense has been a positive in many respects.

That’s just another aspect to raise Washington’s appeal for NBA teams. He projects as a point guard for many given his size. Still, he has the skillset and length to score and defend at both positions at the next level.

His ultimate position is up for debate, but his trendy draft stock isn’t.

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