The Denver Nuggets welcomed three new players to their team during last week’s NBA Draft. With the 21st overall pick, they brought in polished Kansas wing Christian Braun.
At No. 30, they selected UCLA product Peyton Watson following a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder. And in a trade with the Detroit Pistons, the Nuggets took Ismael Kamagate at the 46th position.
All three players bring unique skillsets, from Braun’s vision and versatility, to Watson’s athleticism and length, to Kamagate’s shot-blocking prowess. But despite their differences as players, they all have the same mindset and goals.
At their introductory press conference on Monday at Ball Arena, each player discussed what they might bring to the Nuggets and why they’re excited to call Denver home.
Braun spoke about the moment he was told the Nuggets were selecting him, and what it meant for the next step of his journey. “It was awesome to get that call from Mr. Booth and just kind of talk to him,” Braun said. “He told us that I would be the choice for that pick and it was like a dream come true, it felt amazing.”
Kamagate shared a similar sentiment. “Same thing here, a dream come true. I think we’re all proud to be here and we can’t wait to work.”
When asked how he might help the Nuggets right away, Watson focused on the intangibles. “My length and athleticism, and the energy I bring to the game every time I step out… I’m going to bring energy from day 1 and I’m going to represent the organization to the utmost. to take a day off or waste a moment here.”
As for Braun, he believes his past success can be hugely beneficial for Denver. “I think that they like my winning mentality and my toughness. I’m a guy that wants to compete on both ends of the floor,” Braun said.
“I know they take pride in those things here. We want to win a championship and I think I bring those qualities.”
These three players are at inherently different stages of their development. Braun is a three-year college player at one of the nation’s best programs, and was instrumental in a national championship in 2022. He can easily contribute to winning basketball on day 1.
Watson, meanwhile, played just one year as a role player for UCLA, another blue blood program. His focus is largely on development, something he spoke at length about during the press conference. “I would just say, first and foremost, for me the player development. You guys see what they’ve done in the past.”
Kamagate is a hugely polished product on defense, and next to Nikola Jokić, could quickly improve his offensive game. Perhaps he can slot in as the team’s back-up center.
With all of this up in the air until the season begins, Braun reverted back to the main goal of winning it all. “They’re in a spot where they’re ready to win now. They’ve got a two-time MVP, they’ve got a lot of good pieces around him.”
“I’m excited that we’re in a spot where we can compete for a championship right away.”
The “championship or bust” mantra has been publicly stated by Calvin Booth and Michael Malone. To hear it come from a recently drafted rookie essentially confirms the organization’s mindset as they head into free agency and the 2022-23 season.