There are moments during draft night in which some things just fall into place. Players connect with teams that are just meant to be, and that is the case with the Utah Jazz. At the 55th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Nigel Williams-Goss landed with the Utah Jazz, a team that suits his strengths.
Utah plays a systematic pace with grit, incorporating continuity offenses that rely on everyone to be connected. Selecting Williams-Goss feeds right into that mantra due to his skill set and the system at Gonzaga. Williams-Goss is a methodical player with a high IQ for execution mixed with the propensity to rise to the occasion in big moments.
The Jazz contain a mixture of veterans and youth on their roster in the backcourt. Williams-Goss gives them more backcourt depth immediately as well as a guard for the future. He can learn from veterans like George Hill, Joe Johnson and Shelvin Mack as he transitions into part of the future with Dante Exum, Donovan Mitchell and Rodney Hood. Next season the opportunity is there to work his way into a contributing role off the bench running the show for the second unit.
Offensively, Williams-Goss can expand the floor as he is a quality perimeter shooter. The Jazz have guards and wings that are excellent off the bounce attacking the rim, which allow Williams-Goss the chance to knock down open jumpers from the drive and kick. His in-between offensive package with size at the point make Williams-Goss a perfect fit in Utah. He is going to value each possession while limiting turnovers getting teammates good looks in the half-court. Last season he averaged five assists per game versus just over two turnovers per game.
On the defensive end, he will be able to add value to a second unit that could use a strong perimeter defender. Although he isn’t the most athletic, he gets after it in terms of defensive pressure. His 6’7 wingspan makes it a challenge for point guards as he applies tenacious ball pressure. He understands angles and has good footwork which make up for his lack in athleticism. The Jazz will like his ability to rotate in their team defensive scheme by being able to guard several positions on the perimeter. He will also be a guard that rebounds as he averaged six boards a game as a point guard.
Nigel Williams-Goss and the Utah Jazz seem to be the perfect match in terms of style of play. If Williams-Goss continues to improve his three-point shooting, the Jazz might increase his minutes as early as in his rookie season. He has the intangibles, basketball IQ, and is a willing defender, and these attributes should intertwine with Quinn Snyder’s club.