Even though the Toronto Raptors are just 11 games into the 2021 NBA season, that hasn’t stopped the Raptors mock draft experts from examining what Masai Ujiri will do in the 2022 NBA Draft. After nailing it with Scottie Barnes in 2021, what will this front office do for an encore this year?
Even though Toronto will likely be too good to land an instant game-changer like Chet Holmgren or Paolo Banchero, 2022 is still one of the deepest classes in recent memory due to the surplus of premium athletes that can be hand near the end of the lottery.
To warrant consideration from Toronto, a prospect has to be long-limbed, athletic, versatile, and capable of picking up the system right away. There’s one prospect that could come off the board in the teens that might be an ideal fit for them.
Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman thinks that the Toronto Raptors, picking No. 10 overall in this scenario, will use their first-round pick on UCLA wing Peyton Watson. Considering the traits Toronto values when building their roster, the move would make a ton of sense.
Toronto Raptors mock draft: Could Masai Ujiri draft Peyton Watson?
Watson was a 5-star recruit who chose to stay local and remain in Los Angeles by committing to the Bruins. At 6-8, Watson is already capable of handling the ball, setting up his teammates with some very sharp passes, and defending multiple positions on the perimeter.
Watson’s biggest claim to fame at this point lies in his athletic ability. You won’t find many prospects in this class that can fly to the rim and score in transition in the same way he can. He profiles as a plus rebounder, defender, and athlete as soon as he makes it to the NBA.
As a scorer inside the arc, Watson is very advanced. The handle is sharp, the finishing is solid, and his ability to create off the dribble stands out. With some refinement, Watson could be a perfect Sixth Man for Toronto during his rookie season.
Watson will need to add some weight given how he barely comes in at 200 pounds. His ability to pull up from 3-point range won’t blow anyone away at this point, and the fact that he is going to compete against Johnny Juzang for shot attempts might further impact his production.
Even with those risks, Ujiri will likely have an interest in Watson if he is in his range. Barnes figured to be an extremely raw offensive player, yet he’s already become a contributor. If Watson gets acclimated to the Toronto system, he could be a valuable bench piece as a rookie and long-term starter going forward.