Peyton Watson & JD Davison: Mini Scouting Reports
We take a look at two prospects who had high expectations as freshmen but failed to live up to the hype. Can they reclaim their buzz before draft night?
As we wind down the pre-draft process, time is alluding us. There simply isn’t time left for a deep dive into each prospect in the way we’d want to do. No more ten-minute scouting videos, full six-category breakdowns, individually-dedicated scouting reports.
What we can offer instead is a chance to look at two players at a time, perhaps comparing their overlaps or making a point about how differently they’re treated in draft circles. We’ll provide some five-minute scouting report videos, a quick breakdown of our thoughts in written form, and maybe a draft prediction or two based on intel we’re hearing around the league.
This approach — covering more prospects instead of looking at fewer in great detail — seems vital to encompassing the 2022 draft class. The way this draft is shaking out, there could be as many as 50 players in play for a first round selection. Beyond that, the end of the draft is wide open. Of those 50 players we hear rumors about with the first, at least a dozen of them could easily go undrafted as well. There’s a great deal of volatility with draft ranges. As a result, there are probably 75-90 guys we need to look at and prepare for going into draft night.
High school expectations can be difficult to live up to. Both Peyton Watson and JD Davison came into their first college seasons hyped as future first-round picks. Neither showed growth or played particularly well as freshmen, and the lack of growth exhibited makes them risky prospects to draft.
Will either crack the first round based on potential alone? Are they in danger of slipping all the way into undrafted territory? Both Watson and Davison are emblematic of the volatility in this class and some of the most interesting prospects to watch on draft night.
Peyton Watson, UCLA
A veteran UCLA team had little use for a young, raw athlete who struggles to space the floor. Decisions made after a surprise Final Four run by players like Jules Bernard, Johnny Juzang and Jaime Jaquez left the Bruins wing rotation rather crowded and their playstyle very isolation-based. Mick Cronin, UCLA’s head coach, needed to prioritize floor spacing around them — especially with a point guard in Tyger Campbell who shot 25.9% from 3 heading into the season.
From the very start, Watson’s role and leash at UCLA was going to be short. His minutes, shot attempts and overall comfort level reflected the different prioritization of the team he was on.
The question for Watson now: will an NBA team see the upside he flashed in high school that could get him a guaranteed contract and draft position?