We’ve had commenters clamoring for him, we’ve had podcasters gushing about him, we’ve had the Milwaukee Bucks pulling him in for workouts, it seems like right now everything is coming up Jalen Williams. I can’t say I blame the late round adoration either. Give me a guard with the longest measured wingspan at the NBA combine, 7’2.25” who can dribble, pass and shoot? I’m sold.
Apparently he was one of those late bloomer types, growing four inches between his junior and senior year of high school, and then another three inches while in college. Why not stop there either Jalen, why not just keep going if he lands in Milwaukee? He’s a small school type, playing at Santa Clara, averaging 18 points per game his senior year and 4.2 assists to go along with 80% from the charity stripe on over four attempts per game. His career 3-point percentage was 35%, buoyed by a 39% year his final year of school; he was at just 27% his sophomore year, albeit on just 60 attempts.
With all of these tools and seemingly decent shot creation at his disposal, why would he be available at #24? It’s a good question, and one Bucks fans will likely be asking themselves with bated breath on draft night.
Still, there’s a reason a seemingly long-armed, potentially switchable guard/wing isn’t that high. I thought these were pretty reasonable comps/call-outs by Mike Schmitz on ESPN that helped temper my enthusiasm — also a useful exercise around draft time.
But even if he gets hit on too many screens and has his occasional lapses, the footwork, strength, length and ticker are there to be a plus on that end of the floor while functioning as a spot shooter and secondary ball handler offensively. As we’re seeing with Chicago Bulls rookie Ayo Dosunmu — an excellent prototype for Williams to follow — there’s clear value in long-armed perimeter players who can hold their own defensively, make heady pick-and-roll reads, and make enough spot 3s to keep the defense honest. Although he was more of a sharpshooter than Williams in college, Shake Milton is another player who comes to mind when projecting the Santa Clara star, as neither is overly dynamic with the ball yet both are big, long and skilled enough to add value on and off the ball. With most NBA decision makers are just now familiarizing themselves with Williams, he’s far from a lock in 2022, and there’s certainly another jump for him to make should he return for his senior season. Yet, a strong pre-draft process and a stellar combine performance against the type of high-major defenders he doesn’t face in the WCC could help vault him into the first-round conversation.
This came back in January, so evaluators have already likely talked themselves into him being a better prospect than Shake Milton (picked 54th overall) or Ayo Dosunmu (38th overall). In contrast, the Ringer lists his “shades of” players as OG Anunoby and TJ Warren. It seems like they view him as a larger, rangier wing than Schmitz. If he ended up anywhere near the level of play of the latter two in Milwaukee, you’d have to be pretty ecstatic. They’re probably on the high end of his potential outcomes. Milton and Dosunmu were a useful splash of cold water on this Monday morning.
Here’s the list so far:
- Chet Holmgren
- Jabari Smith
- Paolo Banchero
- Jaden Ivey
- Keegan Murray
- Dyson Daniels
- Shaedon Sharpe
- Bennedict Mathurin
- A.J. Griffin
- Jalen Duren
- Johnny Davis
- Jeremy Sochan
- Ousmane Dieng
- Ochai Agbaji
- Mark Williams
- E.J. Liddell
- TyTy Washington Jr.
- Jalen Williams
And here’s the usual spreadsheet from Adam Spinella. Let’s vote for 19.
My pick for #19 on the community draft board is...
This poll is closed
Malaki Branham, SG, Ohio State
Tari Eason, SF, LSU
Kennedy Chandler, PG, Tennessee
Jaden Hardy, SG, G League Ignite
MarJon Beauchamp, SG, G League Ignite
Nikola Jovic, SF, Mega Mozzart
This poll will close at 8 am central, June 14.