The Toronto Raptors called upon the services of many unheralded players during their 2020-21 campaign, but one of the more encouraging performances came from a sharpshooting guard in Paul Watson Jr. that established himself as a Raptors 905 sensation the season prior.
Watson averaged 19.0 points and 6.5 rebounds on 49% shooting and 43% from beyond the 3-point line with 905, and after two brief cameos with Atlanta and Toronto, Watson got his first extended minutes with the Raptors this season. He more than held his own.
Unfortunately, the Raptors parted ways with Watson in order to maximize their cap space. While 27 games in the pros might not give the most accurate depiction of what he can do at this level, they were enough to help him get another NBA contract thanks to the watchful eye of Sam Presti.
Per the good folks over at Basketballnews.com, Watson has signed a two-way deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder, with FanSided’s Rylan Stiles confirming that Josh Hall was released to make room for the former Raptors guard. Will Watson be able to climb back into the NBA ranks with OKC?
Former Raptors guard Paul Watson has signed with the Thunder.
Watson made 46% of his shots overall and 47% of his 3-pointers during his stint with Toronto last year, averaging 4.1 points and 1.7 rebounds per game. Watson’s 3-point shot will be his best asset as he tries to stick long-term in the NBA.
The highlight of his season was when he was completely unconscious against the Orland Magic, piling up a career-high 30 points while knocking down eight 3-pointers. Watson isn’t going to uncork performances like this regularly, but everything about his G League and NBA stints suggests that his production will carry over to Oklahoma City.
Perhaps he’ll get a higher volume on a Thunder team that has no business pretending they are trying to contend for the postseason.
While it’s hard to really pick up on long-term defensive ability in such short snippets, Watson looked like he has enough feistiness on the perimeter to cause some real problems, and that skill will be welcomed on an Oklahoma City that is so young at every position that they will likely have one of the worst defensive records in the league.
After the Raptors snatched a former Thunder shooter in Svi Mykhailiuk, Oklahoma City has responded by adding a fan-favorite marksman in Watson. Given how young OKC is and how fast they want to play on offense, it should come as no surprise if he ends up becoming a regular member of the pro rotation.