Rangy forward with very good athleticism who has intriguing defensive potential but is a bit of a blank slate on the offensive end.
About Peyton Watson
Peyton Watson is an athletic, energetic wing whose combination of size and quickness stood out at times in limited action as a freshman at UCLA. Emerging as a prospect early on in his prep career, the Beverly Hills native finished his prep career at Long Beach Polytechnic High School (CA) regarded as one of the consensus top-12 prospects in the high school class of 2021 while earning McDonald’s All-American honors. Showing some flashes of potential averaging 4 points, 3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists playing alongside Chet Holmgrem, Jaden Ivey, and Johnny Davis for the USA team that won the FIBA U19 World Cup, Watson solidified himself as a player to watch heading into his freshman year. Stepping into a minor role for a UCLA team returning almost everyone from their Final Four run, Watson had a few productive games amid quiet performances finishing his lone collegiate season averaging 3.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 0.8 assists over 12.7 minutes per game.
• Measured standing 6’8 in shoes with a wiry 203-pound frame and a 7’0.5 wingspan at the 2022 NBA Draft Combine, Watson possesses good size for a wing to go along with impressive lateral quickness and fluidity in the open floor.
• Filling a minor role offensively at the collegiate level, Watson made some plays with his long-strides and leaping ability in the open floor and showed promising touch on short range pull-ups. Struggling to make spot up jumpers while lacking a degree of physicality as a slasher, the 19-year-old swingman never really found his footing on a veteran team with an established hierarchy.
• Possessing significant upside on the defensive end thanks to his length and athleticism, Watson had some freshman moments, but some spectacular ones too using his athleticism to pressure the ball and block shots inside making multiple efforts.
• Playing a role that had him playing dramatically more some nights than others, Watson had an inefficient year but scored in double figures on three occasions and provided some glimpses of his upside.
• Showing the ability to play above the rim in space, some fluidity with the ball to get to spots in the midrange, and a solid first step, Watson had some impressive flashes offensively amid difficulties as a decision-and-shot maker.
• Scoring 0.79 points per pull-up jump shot in the half court [53rd percentile], he did some of his best work attacking closeouts to stop and pop in the lane. Making several shots with intriguing touch, Watson has a lot of work to do on his mechanics as a shooter and his ability to improve as a spot up shooter is a key point of interest projecting ahead.
• Forcing some drives to the rim but scoring several layups with good body control around defenders, Watson scored 0.70 points per finishing opportunity [5th percentile].
• Though he may be early in his development as a scorer, Watson’s flashes as a freshman were bright enough to leave some room for optimism about what he may become long term.
• With the tools to be a multi-positional playmaker on the defensive end, Watson had some impressive moments moving his feet containing the ball on the perimeter, covering ground to block shots, and not giving up on plays.
• Producing blocks, steals, and rebounds at strong per-minute rates, Watson stuffed the stat sheet in limited action. While he is still picking up the nuances of the game, he brings frenetic energy at times that helped him make the most of his tools in spots at UCLA.
— Profile by Synergy Sports