Denver Nuggets gush over Peyton Watson’s defensive potential
Safe to say the Denver Nuggets were enamored with Peyton Watson’s combination of length and skill.
The Nuggets selected the former UCLA wing with the 30th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft on Thursday, the final selection of the first round. Watson was long projected to be a second-round selection after a subdued freshman year with the Bruins, but as the draft drew closer, he made a late push up the board.
Denver thinks he can be a strong defender, with president of basketball ops Calvin Booth saying on Friday they think he can be an All-Defensive Team kind of weapon on that end of the floor.
Calvin Booth on Peyton Watson: “He loves to play defense and he’s a basketball junkie. He’s really intelligent, which leads me to believe he has All-Defensive potential…he’s the kind of guy where it might take two years, or it might take two months.”
— Harrison Wind (@HarrisonWind) June 24, 2022
Watson averaged 3.3 points and 2.9 boards a game while seeing 12.7 minutes a night for the Bruins this past season. A former 5-star prospect, many expected to see him a bit more, but for a veteran-laden team that had its sights set on a return trip to the Final Four, the role just wasn’t there.
His offense was up-and-down, but he showed real defensive prowess. “Peyton Swatson” became a popular calling card. On a per-40 basis—which is admittedly quite a bit of extrapolating given the limited sample size, but still—he averaged two blocks and two steals a game. If he can bring that 3-point percentage up (23% last season), he could be the same kind of 4 Denver tried to make Jerami Grant into.
The high school reputation was that of a dynamic scorer. The college tape shows a multi-positional defender, and an effective one at that. Denver clearly likes his potential to put everything together.