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All Peyton Watson Needed was an Opportunity

All Peyton Watson Needed was an Opportunity

Peyton Watson is a basketball player for the Denver Nuggets. Peyton Watson went to UCLA for college, but only spent 1 year at college. He was a 5-star recruit out of high school and was highly recruited by many college scouts. He went to Long Beach Polytechnic High School for 4 years and was an outstanding athlete. Watson stated that he chose UCLA over other schools because, “They’re the original blue blood and they’re in our backyard.” Watson averaged 23 points and 8 rebounds over his high school career which led him to be named to the rosters for the McDonald’s All-American, Jordan Brand Classic, and Nike Hoop Summit.

After a very good career at high school, Peyton Watson went to UCLA to play college basketball. After his first year at UCLA, he averaged 3 points per game and 3 rebounds per game in a few minutes. He also did not have the best stats on the defensive side of the ball. It was uncertain if he deserved to be named a 5-star recruit. He then made a questionable decision, as he declared for the NBA draft after only 1 year at UCLA. Without many minutes and good stats, it would be hard to get drafted at all.

Watson made a questionable decision but he knew that someone would take a chance on him. The Denver Nuggets GM, Calvin Booth, who has been amazing at drafting saw something very good in Watson. Calvin Booth drafted Nikola Jokic (2-time MVP) with the 41st overall pick in the 2014 draft. With the 30th pick of the 1st round Booth decided to draft Peyton Watson. Watson said, “I feel like I can come in and contribute immediately and help the energy of a team.”

In Peyton Watson’s first season (2022-23 season), he had few minutes but at the end of the year, Watson did very well. In the last five games of the year, he averaged 8 points per game and 1.6 blocks per game, in 20 minutes per game. This showed that he can be an incredible defensive player and a decently good offensive player. In the playoffs, the Denver Nuggets made an amazing run and won the NBA finals, which was their first NBA championship ever. Watson barely played and when he did he played for about 2-4 minutes per game.

After not getting many minutes in his first year, the Nuggets lost a few forwards. This gave Peyton Watson the opportunity to get some more minutes and show his talent. At the beginning of the year, he still didn’t get the most minutes. He didn’t show the most talent on the offensive side, but he was an amazing defensive player with his 7-foot wingspan. The Nuggets needed someone to step up on the bench for them and he was the perfect guy to do so. 

So far he averages 7 points per game, 2 rebounds per game, and 1 block per game. It sounds underwhelming but he has been a very good defender by sticking to his guy like glue. In the past month (January-February 2024), he has averaged 9+ points per game and just over 1 blocks per game. With all of his blocks and steals, he was nicknamed “P-Swat.” After not even knowing if he would be drafted, all he needed was an opportunity to show his talents.

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About the Contributor
Nick Wieder
Nick Wieder, Sports Reporter/Writer
I'm Nick Wieder, I'm in 7th grade, and I like to watch sports. I like to play baseball in my free time. I like to write about sports including baseball, basketball, and football.

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  • Rishab KamatFeb 12, 2024 at 10:01 am

    If he gets traded it will be sad. He is such an amazing player on defense