The draft season is upon us. Unfortunately, the Cleveland Cavaliers ended up 14th overall in last Tuesday’s draft lottery. With its core, the team is in a prime position to select a high-profile player for the 2022 NBA draft that could raise that team’s cap.
This team needs help on the wing position and should be shooting at a team that can create on-ball, shoot and have distance.
There are options that fit this mold like Ousmane Dieng, Tari Eason and Ochai Agbaji to name a few. These are the wings that have been the most talked about mid-range lottery, but recently a new player seemed to be joining the conversation.
That player is Santa Clara’s Jalen Williams, who has caused quite a stir after an impressive draft combine. The biggest thing that stands out about him is his crazy length. Williams stands at 6’6″ and wears a 7’2″!! Span.
As a three-year-old college player, last year was Williams’ best season, recording 51.3/39.6/80.9 in points (18.0), rebounds (4.4) and assists (4.2). Split’s college career bests.
He is very comfortable as a pick and roll ball handler, both as a goalscorer and as a passer. He excelled at midfield work, a key for any league top scorer. He has great basketball IQ when it comes to his shot selection and can attribute that to his patience on offense. The potential is there as a real threat on the ball.
However, Williams is someone who comes with a few complaints. Despite its incredible length, it doesn’t have the athleticism to pair with it. This problem is most evident on defense, and one has to wonder why someone his length wasn’t a great defensive playmaker.
His lack of explosiveness/fast first step could also affect his finishing at the next level. Rarely attempting to finish through defenders, he often opted for ‘clever’ finishes that resulted in some questionable misses.
Superficially, these “weaknesses” appear kitschy. There are many players like Khris Middleton or CJ McCollum who, despite not having elite explosiveness, are still able to score and finish at a high level.
Defensively, his defensive playmaking/on-ball skills could improve with Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen deployed as backline defenders. His length allows him to recover and get shots when he’s hit, projecting him as an incredible weak defender.
This is a player the team can develop and hopefully become a long-term wing option for them.
So there’s a lot to like about Jalen Williams, but does he warrant a lottery pick?
As I said, Williams was a late riser and there are always movers as we get closer to the NBA draft.
The Cavaliers should be reaching for a player they want, though Williams no longer looks like long range.
With that in mind, he should give the Cavs a lot of consideration in the 2022 NBA draft, which will start on June 23.