Today, the Denver Nuggets had the first media availability for their three draft picks: Christian Braun, Peyton Watson and Ismael Kamagate. It was the first time the media had talked to rookies like the Denver Nuggets. On draft night, the Nuggets front office talked a lot about how this was a defensive-minded draft. You can tell the type of prospects they were looking for were tough defenders. Ismael Kamagate was the French LNB Pro A Defensive Player of the Year. Largely due to his shot blocking and rim protection, but also because he is a mobile great who has the ability to change his game. Christian Braun was a defensive stopper for the 2022 national champion Kansas Jayhawks. Peyton Watson is a project, but he has all the tools necessary to be a fully defensive player.
Peyton Watson is bought
They are all gamers and very smart people too. The Nuggets culture is built on hard work, and they all brought up the fact that they want to work hard. When asked if they would be willing to sit down and take the time to develop, Peyton Watson said: “Absolutely, yes. I think the common theme with all three of us sitting here (Ismael Kamagate, Christian Braun and himself) is that we are all fighters. We are all competitors. We all want to help our team in various ways. Whether that’s pushing guys in practice every day, whether that’s going to the G-League team and contributing there, or whether that’s playing at the NBA level and helping us win games in an 82-game season. , we’re all ready to do all of that.”
Peyton Watson is specifically someone who will need development, and it probably means time in the G-League. However, he is more than open to it and will take whatever the Nuggets throw at him. He knows he’s raw, but he has all the tools to be an asset the Nuggets needed, an elite defender. There are question marks with him, and it’s only fair to have them. However, he has the right mindset, development context, and tools to make it all work defensively. I’m on Peyton Watson.
When asked what he thought the Nuggets initially liked about him during the selection process, he said, “My length and athleticism. The energy that I bring every time I step on the court. I think the most important thing is cultural fit, you know? I will bring energy from day one. I will represent the organization to the fullest and I will never miss a moment here.”
He has an attitude and a mindset towards the game that will really grab the fans. It may take him a couple of years to manifest as a rotation player, and he may just fade away, though it won’t be for lack of effort.
christian braun is a winner
Christian Braun can be summed up in a quote from himself. When asked what drew the Nuggets organization to him during the draft cycle, he said, “I think they just liked my winning mentality, my toughness. I’m a guy who wants to compete on both ends of the floor.”
That rings true if you watched it during Kansas. He is a competitor. Someone who won’t back down and make themselves heard. He will bark at other teams up and down the field. Even if he only has a 3 and a block, you’ll find out. He brings an edge to the Nuggets that they really haven’t had in the Nikola Jokic era. On his mentality, he said, “I’m just a super competitive person, no matter what I am. When I’m on the basketball court, I like to bring a certain personality, a certain passion to the rest of the teams I’ve played for.”
He’s likely to compete for minutes in his rookie season, something that probably can’t be said for the other two. He is a defensive-oriented player with a fierce personality on the court. He expects him to compete in training camp for rotating minutes, he’s someone Coach Malone will probably like as well.
Rookies will work hard
Peyton Watson and Christian Braun, as stated earlier, want to compete. They want to be guys who go in and push themselves. They will have the opportunity to prove themselves this season. Ismael Kamagate, on the other hand, will play another year abroad and will likely come play for the Nuggets after this season.
However, he also talked about hard work and his defensive prowess: “I think I’m going to show how we work, what it’s like to be here, to show our [work ethic] and our defense.”
The three rookies echoed similar ideas of what they want to bring to the table. It’s pretty clear what kind of players Calvin Booth and the Nuggets front office wanted in his building. Tough defenders who will push themselves no matter what. Nuggets fans should be excited to see you all this July in summer league and beyond because it’s bright for the Denver Nuggets.