Jalen Williams has soared from an unknown commodity to a possible lottery pick over the last month. Williams looks to become the first Santa Clara player picked in the first round since the Phoenix Suns drafted a small guard named Steve Nash 26 years ago. That pick seemed to turn out pretty well.
Williams is looking to make a similar impact. He made a great impression on NBA teams during the scouting combine where he showed his shooting ability, basketball IQ and defensive versatility.
Santa Clara won 21 games and held their own against a strong WCC this past season. Williams led the Broncos in scoring with 18.0 points and averaged 4.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.2 steal per game last season.
Williams represents the modern NBA two-guard. Williams is long, can shoot, put the ball on the floor, and has length. However, Williams didn’t get much exposure playing at Santa Clara, so many NBA fans may not be familiar with what Williams can bring to the table.
Height: 6 feet, 6 inches
Weight: 209 pounds
Wingspan: 7 feet, 2.25 inches
NBA Comparison: It’s really hard to compare Williams to one player. I see a little bit of Dillon Brooks in him on the offensive end. He is crafty and smart. He also has the upside to be the main pick-and-roll guy in an offense.
I can seem him finding a niche in the mid-range sort of like DeMar DeRozan. He is very good at getting to his spots. Williams is going to have to bulk up and get stronger to be a career NBA starter. But if he can fill out his frame and improve his footwork, Williams has the skillset to be in the NBA for a long time.
passing ability, pick and roll
Passing and vision were among the main key jumps Williams made last offseason. Williams led the team in assists and had an elite assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.99. Playing at a unique pace, Williams often led his team on the break and found open teammates. He showed the ability to pass with both hands.
Williams often leveraged the attention of defenses and consistently found open cutters and scorers under the basket. William’s passing Ability will allow him to be a threat in the pick and roll at the next level.
three level scorer off ball screens
Williams was an amazingly efficient scoring off ball screens last season. He was able to get the rim, hit tough mid-range jumpers and shot 39% from three last season. He demonstrated agility and could change speeds effortlessly to get to his spots.
Williams has shown he can hit the contested mid-range jumper. He is a terrific finisher near the rim and can finish with either hand. His floater game is underrated. Williams can be a versatile and valuable scorer in the NBA as he continues to build a 3-point shot.
Areas to improve:
defense, rebounding, 3-point shooting
While his 7-foot-2-inch wingspan is vital, Williams needs to improve his footwork and defensive instincts to become a true NBA starter. His 4.4 rebounds a game was a concern when he was the most athletic player on the floor for many of his games.
Williams needs to add some weight because he may not have the muscle to prevent stronger forwards from backing him down. His lack of a quick burst is a cause of concern. The Arizona native relied on his angles and his length to score the basketball.
Playing against NBA-level athletes with more athleticism and length will be a major jump in competition. His jumper improved dramatically over the last year, but we’ll see how that translates from NBA 3-point range.
Projected Draft Range: 10-18
CBS Sports projects Williams to go to the Charlotte Hornets at pick No. 14. He would fit in perfectly here as a backup to Terry Rozier at the shooting guard position.
However, I can see a team like the San Antonio Spurs taking a chance on Williams at pick No. 9 or trading back and getting him later. I also think he would also complement the Chicago Bulls well by providing another pick-and-roll ball handler off the bench.