Peyton Watson could see bigger role with Nuggets next season

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Peyton Watson could see bigger role with Nuggets next season

Peyton Watson was selected 30th overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2023 NBA Draft, and he was then traded to the Denver Nuggets, along with two future second-round picks for JaMychal Green and a 2027 protected first-round pick.

Although the 6-foot-8 guard out of UCLA appeared in only 23 games with Denver in his rookie 2022-23 season, he could have a bigger role with the team next season.

“He didn’t play much this year, but coaches, players and staff are optimistic he could seize a big role next season — especially if Brown leaves in free agency,” reported ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

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Peyton Watson, 20, made just two starts out of his 23 appearances this past season. The California native averaged 3.3 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 8.1 minutes per game. He also shot 49.2% from the floor and 42.9% outside the arc.

In Denver’s 109-95 regular-season-finale win over the Sacramento Kings on Apr. 9, Watson scored a career-high 13 points in 27 minutes as a starter. Along with logging four boards, one steal, and one block, he shot 4-of-10 (40%) from the field and 5-of-7 (71.4%) at the foul line.

Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone might offer Peyton Watson a bigger role with the team next season

Nuggets coach Michael Malone praised the rookie at the end of the regular season. “If I have to use Peyton Watson in a playoff series, I will, if the situation calls upon it,” Malone said. “He’s shown me he can go out there against some really good players and teams and impact the game in a positive light.”

However, Peyton Watson made only five appearances during the 2023 NBA Playoffs. In the Nuggets’ 125-107 win over the Phoenix Suns in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals, the guard scored three points off the bench in less than four minutes played.

While with the Grand Rapids Gold, the Nuggets’ G League affiliate, Watson averaged 22 points, 6.6 boards, 2.3 assists, and 31.9 minutes per game. Plus, he finished 45.8% shooting from the floor.

Last July, Peyton Watson signed a four-year, $11.27 million rookie scale contract with Denver. His multi-year deal includes club options for 2024-25 and 2025-26. He made $2,193,960 this past season and is projected to earn $2,303,520 with the Nuggets next season.

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