The Denver Nuggets entered the offseason with a goal of adding depth around Nikola Jokic. Jokic shouldered most of the load last season with Jamaal Murray and Michael Porter Jr injured. And Jokic led Denver to the postseason despite the team's injury-plagued roster. But the Nuggets understand they need players around the two-time reigning MVP if they want to make an NBA Finals run. They selected Christian Braun and Peyton Watson in the 2022 NBA Draft. But can these two young players contribute during the 2022-2023 NBA season?
Let's take a look at 3 predictions for Braun and Watson in their rookie seasons.
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3 Christian Braun, Peyton Watson predictions for rookie seasons with Nuggets
Christian Braun makes All-Rookie team
Christian Braun was selected 21st overall by the Nuggets. Although some are worried about bust potential, I believe he will benefit from playing alongside Nikola Jokic.
The 6'6 forward features sneaky athleticism and he is a quality jump shooter. His three-point shooting will be vital to his success in the league. He shot 44 percent from beyond the arc as a freshman in college, but was unable to replicate that in the following years. Nonetheless, he has shooting potential.
And there should be no shortage of open looks with defenses focused on limiting Jokic (and Murray as long as he stays healthy.)
Look for Christian Braun to make an impact early in his Nuggets career.
Peyton Watson plays key role in 2022
Christian Braun stole most of the headlines for the Nuggets in the 2022 NBA Draft. But Peyton Watson should not be overlooked.
Watson, a 6'7 forward, was selected 30th overall by Denver. His versatile skill set will suit him well in the NBA. He isn't the kind of player who is going to drop 25 points per game off the bat. But he will score a little bit while dishing out assists and grabbing rebounds. His IQ of the game will be beneficial for the Nuggets as well.
Most people aren't sure what to expect from Peyton Watson in his rookie season. But I believe he will end up playing a big role off of the bench. His all-around game should help Denver's second unit perform well.
Watson recently spoke on his mindset in the NBA Summer League, per the Gazette.
“I’m just out here proving something to myself, you know? I don’t care what anybody else says on social media or how people try to paint me,” Watson said. “I know who I am, I know what I can do, and this is more so me proving to myself that I’m still that player and I’m one of the best players in this draft.”
Braun and Watson prove they are key pieces to the puzzle
I expect both Christian Braun and Peyton Watson to excel in their respective roles this season. Neither will immediately emerge as a star, but they will be important pieces to the Nuggets overall puzzle moving forward.
And as aforementioned, Denver simply needs depth around their stars. So the Nuggets certainly had a solid overall 2022 NBA Draft.
It wouldn't be surprising to see Braun emerge as a star at some point down the road. He has the potential to become a dynamic scorer in the NBA.
For now, Braun and Watson will aim to help Denver make a deep playoff run.