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Roundtable: PJ Washington trade reactions

The Mavs Moneyball staff shares thoughts about the second trade deadline day acquisition

Toronto Raptors v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

If you’ve checked the site recently, you saw we had staff reactions to the news that the Dallas Mavericks had made a trade for Daniel Gafford. A few hours later I asked everyone for their reactions to the very neat trade of PJ Washington. Here’s what the crew had to say:

Ben: Overall, I like the trade. It addresses a weakness for Dallas, and ships out Grant Williams, who just wasn’t working out, and Seth Curry, who wasn’t getting any minutes (bonus points for getting Curry to his home state). The price, a first round pick, is fair. I was against the trade earlier this week when the rumor was that the Mavs would have to include Josh Green and a pick. Either Green or a pick was fair to me, but not both. The fact they got Washington for the trade they did makes it a win.

Matt: Dallas is applying the law of large numbers to adding a competent wing, and I think it’s commendable. We are going to build this roster into a contender using raw sample size maximization.

Doyle: When I was looking at Washington’s three-point shooting this season with Charlotte — 32.4 percent — I immediately thought, “That is going to improve.” Playing alongside Luka Doncic has helped many players improve their outside shooting. Doncic finds a way to get everyone open looks and Washington will be the latest stretch big — he’s 6-foot-7 but plays power forward and center — to benefit from playing alongside the Slovenian All-Star. If he can be a reliable scorer, notching double-digit points more consistently than Grant Williams did, he should be a positive addition to the rotation.

Jack: The Mavericks have rejected the principle of the sunk-cost fallacy. Grant Williams wasn’t working out. Rather than letting the situation deteriorate further, they moved on and got off his deal. In the process, the acquired a talented young wing with two-way impact potential. Yes, they had to part with their precious 2027 first-round pick. No, this move doesn’t make them contenders. But for Dallas to improve their roster with limited assets, this is the kind of move they needed to make. I’m willing to bet that Washington will flourish next to Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving— there’s another level to his game that has yet to be unlocked. We’ve seen flashes of it and in Dallas, I think he realizes his full potential. It’s a risky move, but I like the bet on talent and upside.

Matt M: When I first saw how poorly PJ Washington was shooting the 3-ball this year, I wondered the same thing that Doyle said above — with Derrick Jones Jr’.s early shooting form this year the being latest example of the Luka Dončić role-player stat bump — how much might that 32 percent improve with Luka feeding him? How much might his overall play from what the Charlotte fan (yay) saw this year before he was traded to the Mavs? The first feels like a slight overpay, but it should end up being a late first, and two seconds are coming back, so I can’t get too hung up on that. Plus in the big picture of where the Mavs stand in the greater Book of Luka, that first-round pick was always currency to be spent more than it was a chance to find a developmental steal at the 17th pick or something like that, you know? Ultimately I like this deal for the Mavericks, but I like the Gafford deal better.

Brent: ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski stated on the post-deadline show that Luka Doncic is excited about playing with PJ Washington. It is important to remember that Doncic is just as much of a basketball genius when it comes to talent evaluation as any player in the league. Since his pro career began at age 16, he has encountered every player archetype and personality under the sun. While muted due to tampering restrictions - not to mention just plain etiquette - you won’t hear Luka truly evaluate players in the media. This does not mean #77 does not have a catalog of strong opinions about whose game and demeanor he respects and who he rolls his eyes about. To hear that he is excited about Washington, should be music to the ears of Dallas Mavericks fans everywhere. Washington represents an offensive force that can take over a game here and there from the frontcourt. Have we been able to say that about any player in the post-Dirk era? The term 3 & D is sometimes used by default to describe any frontcourt player who plays decent defense and can hit an outside shot. The Mavs’ new forward is more than that - he can score from all 3 levels, has a 7’2 wingspan, and by all accounts is a pro’s pro.

Charlotte did the right thing in keeping Washington during his restricted free agency. Yet given the timeline of how late in the offseason he was signed and his ouster from the starting lineup this season in favor of the returning Miles Bridges and emerging Brandon Miller, it is clear PJW was not in Charlotte’s long-term plans. Given his age and his upside, we have every reason to believe the fit Dallas added a big piece to the core they are rolling with for the next 2-3 years.

Kirk: My initial reaction tot he trade was to freak out a bit about the first round pick. I hate trading picks; Dallas is good at drafting and I wanted them to have three to move this summer. Then I learned Dallas got back two second-rounders. That’s something. I will analyze the trade more once I know more about PJ. I’m not going to sit here and act like I’ve seen him play more than 10 times ever. Pretty good, wild day.

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