If you’re not familiar with Film Fridays, each Friday, I’ll be looking at some recent Denver Nuggets’ games, lineups or something else from a film aspect to try and bring you a piece of content that you’re not getting somewhere else. Feel free to give any feedback positive or negative in the comments or find me on Twitter.

Last season, the Nuggets had two first-round picks to use in the draft. One was in the early 20s, and they also had the last pick of the first round via a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Their first pick was Christian Braun who became a key role player for them last year in their quest for a championship. The other pick? It was Peyton Watson, who had a quiet rookie season with a lot of time on the bench or in the G-League, but he has been turning that corner recently.

Watson isn’t going to be a primary scorer any time soon, but he’s showing his fit alongside Nikola Jokic as a slasher on offense. His main bit of success recently has been on the defensive end. At 6’8” with a 7’ wingspan, he’s the ideal mold of a modern NBA wing, and he loves to put that length to work against tough assignments night after night. You don’t even have to guess because he tells you on his Twitter.

Denver has offensive options everywhere, and they can surround Watson with enough scoring punch to offset him while he grows on that end. Adding a player like him into their rotation makes them that much more difficult to deal with down the stretch of this season. Denver has grown so much talent on their own with 12 of the 17 players that have suited up for them this season being drafted by them. When it comes to Watson, he shows that they’ve done it again.

Transition Stopper

When team’s have a 2-on-1 fastbreak opportunity, they pretty consistently will score in those situations. In the scenario above, Watson waits near the 3-point arc until he sees the Washington Wizards grab the defensive rebound. After that, he immediately starts down the floor to get back on defense. He stays ahead of the play the whole way, and, when Landry Shamet goes up for the layup, he erases the shot attempt entirely. The key part is that he does it cleanly. His jumping ability combined with his long arms just make it so difficult to get a shot off against him.

You’re down four on the road, and you have a lineup that is almost entirely made up of reserves on the floor for you. What’s the perfect way to slow down a team’s momentum? Getting back on defense and annihilating a shot attempt on a fast break. Denver has two players that are completely behind the play and aren’t in any position to make anything happen on defense. However, it doesn’t matter because Watson is there and snuffs out the shot attempt before it ever even goes up. Hustle and energy isn’t everything, but it goes a long way on those little plays throughout the game.

On-Ball Menace

This clip comes from a few months back, but let’s take a look at the context. Four-point game on the road against a nearly full starting five of the LA Clippers. Watson is guarding the primary ball-handler that has a propensity for drawing fouls at any time. Watson maintains his position while sliding along with James Harden, and, after Harden loses his dribble, he swarms on him before eventually ending up with the steal. Being able to put your second-year defender on a player like Harden while having confidence in him is a huge boost.

This play shows a couple different variants of Watson’s skills. On the first aspect, Watson overhelps and finds himself out of position, but he quickly is able to slide out to the shooter to prevent the 3-point shot attempt. Most defenders are just conceding the shot there and hoping it doesn’t go in. Watson gets out to the shooter and forces him to dribble. After Jaden Springer puts the ball on the ground, Watson picks his pocket, and they’re heading the other way with the ball.

Fit in on Offense

Playing alongside Jokic on offense isn’t something difficult, although some former Nuggets have made it seem that way. Watson isn’t going to be one of those players that struggles. He knows how to roll and cut to the rim, and he has the athleticism to catch those passes that defenders can’t get to. On this play, Jokic is rolling towards the rim with the ball after catching the pass from Reggie Jackson. After setting the screen for Braun, Watson sees the empty runway, and he is cleared for takeoff. Watson catches the pass before it hits the backboard and hangs in the air long enough to cock the ball back before throwing down the dunk.

Our final play of the day doesn’t have Watson doing anything special, but it is taking a look at the next way that he can step his game up. On the year, Watson is shooting just 31.6 percent from 3-point range. He’s not going to be a high-volume gunner from downtown, but they don’t need that. Instead, getting him to increase his accuracy by just a few percent will dramatically shift the floor for everyone else. On this play, Jaren Jackson Jr. of the Memphis Grizzlies is playing way off of Watson. Part of that is the large deficit in the game, and the other part is that Watson isn’t the biggest threat from outside. He catches the pass from Jokic and knocks the shot down, but, if he can start doing that with a bit more confidence, he’ll be on the floor more often and with a lot more effect.

For those of you that are still here, remember to leave your feedback in the comments or over on my Twitter, and have a fantastic film-filled Friday.