2022 Draft Watch: Analyzing Peyton Watson

July 10th, 2021

By Alan Lu

UCLA’s 6-8 incoming freshman forward, Peyton Watson is considered to be a likely lottery pick for the 2022 draft, and so I wanted to get a chance to watch him play to assess his skills.  I wanted to watch him play in a non-blowout setting where the game ends up being close all the way through, but it was hard to find that sort of game online.  Finally, I was able to watch him play in a December 6th, 2019 basketball game that took place between Long Beach Poly and Gardena, with thanks to YouTube via Michael Adams.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.

Peyton Watson is a talented, UCLA-bound point forward whose playmaking skills and all-around skills may make him a highly coveted prospect amongst NBA teams for the 2022 draft.
(Photo:
John Napalan/the562, via USA Today)

Peyton Watson had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Gardena.  He is an athletic, skilled point forward that can do a little bit of everything, but he struggled to consistently knock down shots and also with turnovers in this game. He showed a satisfactory ability to score off the dribble.  Watson was able to go hard to his right to score on a tough layup in traffic while getting an extra free throw.  He also would often go hard to his left to draw an abundance of fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line.  He would’ve scored on a high-flying dunk off of a drive once, but it was waved off because his teammate set a moving screen that time.  He also tried scoring in the post after backing his man down, but he missed on a tough, one-legged, fadeaway jumper from the baseline.

He also flashed the ability to knock down jumpers on offense.  Watson showed that he can make threes both off the catch and dribble.  He ran off the ball to make a quick three from way out early on.  He also used a quick crossover to make a smooth, step-back three.  He also was able to use a quick ball fake as he pulled up to score from the mid-range once.  However, he would tend to take tough, contested shots, and he struggled to make threes or mid-range jump shots consistently.

He also displayed perhaps adequate playmaking skills.  Watson is a tall, athletic playmaker that likes to handle the basketball.  He is an unselfish player that can throw solid interior passes to find teammates on the move, and he can make an assortment of passes off the dribble.  However, he was also quite turnover prone in this game.  Watson had a tendency to over-dribble, which would cause him to get balls stolen away by defenders, and he also would commit other careless ball-handling turnovers.  He also would sometimes throw weak, hasty passes into traffic that would get intercepted.

Plus, Watson also did a tremendous job of rebounding the basketball.  He would often leap up to get defensive rebounds.  He would tend to bring the ball up after getting defensive boards, and he also quickly pushed the ball up the floor late in this match.  He also dove on the ground to get an offensive rebound early on, as he made a nice hustle play to do so.

Also, Watson played solid defense in this game.  He’s an active help defender that can get blocks and steals, and he also showed a knack for challenging shots in the half court. He showed a knack for blocking shots off the dribble due to possessing solid length, athleticism, and timing.  He also was able to stay in front of his man when defending a drive, and he was able to poke a ball away to help his team get a steal.  He also ran in to tie up an opponent in the backcourt to nearly get a steal, and he also would jump on loose balls and deflect passes.  Plus, he also would use his length to contest shots in the post as well as out on the perimeter to force misses.  On the downside, he would sometimes give up on plays when trying to get back on defense, which would lead his team to allow scores in transition.  He also was caught ball watching, as he lost track of his man on a cut to allow an alley-oop dunk to him.  He also committed an aggressive foul in the backcourt late in this match, as he basically tackled the guy on that play.

Overall, Peyton Watson is an athletic, skilled point forward that has a variety of skills, but he will need to make more jump shots consistently, and he will need to improve his decision-making skills on offense, and focus on the defensive end.  He could be an intriguing pick for an NBA team in the mid to late first round range in the 2022 draft, and he could end up being a similar player to Golden State Warriors’ forward, Kelly Oubre in the NBA.

Gardena’s 6-4 guard, Chris Page played fairly well to help lead his team to a win over Long Beach Poly.  He is a very athletic swingman that plays bigger than his listed height, and he was able to make a slew of highlight reel-worthy plays to help his team get the victory. Page generally excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He excelled at scoring off of cuts and in transition, and he would often catch lobs to score on high-flying, alley-oop dunks.  Plus, he also managed to score on a strong put back while getting an extra free throw another time. He showed a knack for drawing free throws when looking to score off the dribble or in the post in one-on-one situations.  He struggled more to score in traffic, as he didn’t look to change directions often, and he also can struggle to handle the ball when heavily pressured.

He also flashed the ability to knock down jumpers in this game.  Page ran off the ball to make a quick, open three-pointer early on.  He also ran off the ball through a zone defense, and he used quick off-ball movement to score on a swift, mid-range floater from the baseline.  On the downside, Page struggled to knock down outside shots consistently, as he generally had trouble making spot-up threes or pull-up, mid-range jumpers in this game.

Also, he displayed fairly adequate playmaking skills. Page showed that he can make drive and kick passes to find open shooters.  On the downside, he had some trouble handling the ball under heavy pressure, as he would struggle to protect the basketball.  On one play, he brought the ball up, but an opponent was able to back-tap the ball away from him to get him lose the ball and turn it over. In addition, Page did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball, as he was able to get boards on both ends of the floor.  He also was able to get an offensive board in traffic, and he also showed the willingness to aggressively get defensive rebounds.

He also played good defense in this game.  Page would swoop to block shots off of drives to teammates due to possessing good athleticism and timing.  He also was able to rotate and poke a ball along with the help of a teammate to help his team get a steal.  He also would stay in front of his opponents, and he would use his length to frequently contest jump shots both out on the perimeter and in the paint to force plenty of misses.  On the downside, he would sometimes get outmuscled when defending drives, which would cause him to commit fouls.

Overall, Chris Page is a very athletic, high-motor swingman that had a solid showing in his team’s win over Long Beach Poly.  He’ll need to improve his outside shot, but his athleticism, motor, and defensive skills should allow him to play in NCAA division 1 college basketball sometime in the near future.  If he makes his way into the NBA one day, he could end up projecting into a defensive specialist role at that level.

Gardena’s 6-1 point guard, Michael Frankling had his ups and downs in his team’s win over Long Beach Poly.  He is a strong, physical guard that can score and defend.  He really struggled with his jump shot at times, but he made enough plays on both ends of the floor to help his team get the victory.

Frankling showed a knack for scoring in transition.  He would often score on strong drives in transition, and he has good strength and body control that allows him to regularly score and get free throws on the break.  He also showed a decent ability to score off the dribble.  When going to his right, he would often find ways to score on crafty layups off the glass. When going to his left, he would find ways to draw fouls upon his defenders.  Sometimes though, he would take tough, off-balanced shots that would lead him to miss shots in traffic, especially when he wouldn’t get foul calls. He also flashed the ability to score in the post.  He managed to score on a strong, up and under move once.  He struggled to score consistently down low though, as he would sometimes tend to take tough, contested shots.

He also showed an adequate ability to knock down mid-range jumpers.  Frankling would use dribble moves to score on pull-up jumpers from that range, and he also was able to make a quick, mid-range shot off the catch.  He did tend to take quite a lot of mid-range shots and was fairly streaky with his shot, which would hurt his shooting percentages a bit.  He also was unable to knock down threes in this game, as he really struggled to connect from long distances.

Also, Franklin showed off adequate playmaking skills.  He showed that he can make accurate passes off the dribble to set up scores for his teammates, and he also threw a lob to set up a score for a teammate on the break.  He also would find cutters, and also make drive and kick passes to get the ball to his teammates on the move.  He also was able ot throw a very long outlet pass to a corner shooter another time.  On the downside, he would sometimes tend to commit ball-handling turnovers due to recklessness.  He also dropped a catchable pass out of bounds on a separate play.

He also did a great job of rebounding the basketball, and he would often chase down balls, as he was able to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  Plus, he also played solid defense in this game.  Franklin would jump passes to swipe balls away to get plenty of steals for his team, and he also jumped on a loose ball to help his team get another.  He also blocked a put back to himself, and he also would contest threes.  On the downside, he would be caught ball watching and over-help in the paint, which would lead him to allow opponents to score on three-point baskets.  He also was called for committing a foul when defending an opposing ball handler up the court another time.

Overall, Michael Frankling is a tough, strong combo guard that can score and defend, but he will need to improve his jump shot and shot selection in games.    He may be right on the borderline of whether or not if he can play adequately at the NCAA division 1 college basketball level.  He’ll need to continue to improve as a shooter and decision-maker, but his ability to make plays could enable him to carve out a playing career in professional basketball if he can continue to hone his overall game.

Long Beach State Poly’s 6-2 high school guard, Gabriel Cummings played in the fourth quarter, and he immediately started knocking down spot-up threes, as he especially thrived at making corner threes in this game.  He also ran off of a ball screen to make a quick three late in this match.

He also managed to get a defensive rebound, and he also backtapped an opposing ball handler to get a steal defensively.  Cummings played extremely well in the fourth quarter, and his team could’ve looked to play him much sooner, and they could’ve tried to incorporate him into their offense sooner.  He is a skilled sharpshooter, and if he makes it to the NBA one day, he could project into a shooting specialist role at that level.

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