Heading into the 2023-24 season, the Denver Nuggets’ bench is looking a bit light. They lost both Jeff Green and Bruce Brown in free agency, plus Vlatko Cancar tore his ACL playing for Slovenia this summer.
In order to carry over the dominance that they played with in the postseason, on the way to their first-ever NBA title, the Nuggets are going to need some surprise performances from some of their young guys.
Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley recently predicted that sophomore guard Peyton Watson could have a bit of a breakout season for himself.
“He has the necessary size and length to be an all-purpose disruptive presence on defense and a ferocious finisher around the basket,” Buckley wrote. “He quietly has the ability to make plays (for himself and his teammates) off the dribble, and things could really open up for him if he finds consistency with his long-range shot.”
Is Peyton Watson due for a breakout year with the Denver Nuggets?
He certainly could be. The 21-year-old didn’t see much time at all as a rookie last season.
He appeared in just 23 games for the Nuggets, playing about 8.1 minutes each time. Watson averaged 3.3 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 0.5 assists per game while shooting 49.2% from the field and 42.9% from beyond the arc.
Again, there will be fewer bodies ahead of him in Denver’s rotation this season, perhaps allowing for more of an opportunity for the former UCLA standout.
Watson saw a large chunk of playing time in two NBA Summer League appearances for the Nuggets this offseason. He logged 31.2 minutes in each contest and filled the scoring column with 19.0 points per game.
One negative from Watson’s Summer League run was that he didn’t set up his teammates very much, and actually threw the ball to the opposition much more. His 3.5 turnovers to one assist ratio isn’t the most encouraging thing for Nuggets fans.
Despite his shortcomings, Watson is looking like he could at least play a minor role off of Denver’s bench this year. Hopefully, he’s able to thrive and give the Nuggets a payoff on their 2022 first-round selection.