Northwest Notes: Watson, Edwards, Milton, Jazz

A rotation player this season after logging limited minutes as a rookie, second-year Nuggets guard Peyton Watson has Deion Sanders’ portrait in his locker to remind of the type of defender he wants to be, writes Vinny Benedetto of The Denver Gazette. Watson, who has earned praise from teammates Nikola Jokic and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for his defensive play and his energy, explained his thinking.

“I just thought it was the most admirable thing that teams would literally throw away from his side (first) through (third) downs. Then, on fourth down, (they) punt out of bounds so he couldn’t return it. Like, you can’t even let this guy get involved in the game,” Watson said. “I admire the mentality and how he approached the game.”

While minutes have fluctuated this fall for some of the Nuggets’ reserves, Watson has remained a part of head coach Michael Malone‘s regular second unit, averaging more than 21 minutes per night in his past six games.

“He can guard bigs. He can guard smalls. I like how he’s playing right now,” Malone said. “He’s helping impact the game in a positive manner right now, and it’s great to see for a young player, taking advantage of the opportunities that’s being given to him.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards, who recently missed two games with a hip pointer and appeared to be favoring that hip in his return on Wednesday, exited Friday’s game after just three minutes (Twitter link). He’s undergoing further examination on Saturday and it remains unclear whether he’ll miss any additional time, per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.
  • The Shake Milton that scored 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting in Friday’s win over Memphis was the player the Timberwolves thought they were getting when they signed him in free agency this summer, according to Krawczynski, who suggests Minnesota will become an even more dangerous team if the guard’s Friday performance wasn’t a one-off. Head coach Chris Finch has been pushing the struggling Milton to be more confident and assertive, which was reflected in his play in Memphis, Krawczynski adds.
  • While Salt Lake City officials are working hard to keep the Jazz in the downtown area, the franchise has explored the possibility of building a new arena outside the city, including perhaps at the south end of Salt Lake County, according to Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune (subscription required). Larsen takes a deep dive into the story, examining the factors at play and clarifying that the team won’t be moving out of the Delta Center anytime soon.
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