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Updated: Sep 8, 2022

0-Peyton Tyler Watson was born September 11, 2002 is an American professional basketball player for the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). A McDonald's All-American in high school, he played one season of college basketball for the UCLA Bruins. Watson was selected in the first round of the 2022 NBA draft with the 30th overall pick.

Watson attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School in Long Beach, California, joining the varsity team as a freshman. He assumed a leading role in his junior season. He was names as the McDonald’s All-American, Jordan Brand Classic and Nike Hope Summit.

At the University of California, Los Angeles as a freshman. Watson arrived out of shape, primarily due to his high school senior season being disrupted in the COVID-19 pandemic. He joined in UCLA group that had advanced to the Final Four of NCAA Tournament a year earlier. He was received honorable mention for the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team.

Watson was a consensus five-star recruit, one of the top small forwards and the highest-ranked player from California in the 2021 recruiting class. On July 27, 2020, he committed to playing college basketball for UCLA over offers from Arizona, Gonzaga, Michigan, Oregon and Washington. He was frank with the Bruins coaching staff that he intended to be a one-and-done player, leaving for the NBA after one year in college.

Watson has shown promise as a good on-ball defender. He’s able to move his feet and slip through screens pretty smoothly, and his 7’ wingspan plays well contesting shots of course. Watson has the mobility and length to effect shots at the rim from help, while he also has the quickness to guard on the perimeter.

Watson has the potential be a rotation player down the road. If he can develop a solid three-point shot down the road, he could blossom and deliver on the elite prospect status he earned coming out of high school. As he fills out his frame, he should be able to finish with more physicality but his strengths offensively are his feel and passing at this point.

Watson was selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder in first round of the 2022 NBA draft with the 30th overall pick. He was then traded to the Denver Nuggets along with two future second-round picks for JaMychal Green and a 2027 protected first-round draft pick.

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