NBA Draft: Grading every first-round pick after rookie year

2022 NBA Draft Class. Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images
2022 NBA Draft Class. Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images /
31 of 31
NBA Draft
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – APRIL 06: Peyton Watson #8 of the Denver Nuggets dribbles the ball during the game against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center on April 06, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns beat the Nuggets 119-115. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images) /

30. Denver Nuggets – Peyton Watson, UCLA

The final pick of the first round went to the Denver Nuggets, picking for the second time and taking a raw wing in Peyton Watson who couldn’t get onto the court as a freshman for a UCLA program flush with talent and trying to win a championship. That lack of minutes didn’t change for Watson as a rookie on a contending team, but behind the scenes, he showed off a ton of potential.

At 6’8″ with a huge wingspan, Watson has the frame to be an impact perimeter defender and showed that off in his limited minutes for the Nuggets. Intel from coaches and other sources scream that he was killing it in practice; that’s unsubstantiated and needs to be proven out, but there is an unusually high amount of buzz around him. He looks like a potential breakout player for next season.

The second round was not flush with players who obviously should have gone higher than Watson, and certainly not for a team like the Nuggets needing high-level role players to slot around their stars. The best names from the second round include Andrew Nembhard (31), Christian Koloko (33), Jaylin Williams (34), Jaden Hardy (37), Ryan Rollins (44) and Jabari Walker (57), with plenty of projects mixed in with upside to pop in the coming years.

Next. The 30 most painful NBA Draft pass-ups since 2000. dark

Grade: B