Ever since the 2022 NBA Daft combine, the guard out of Santa Clara has been soaring up draft boards. After not receiving as much attention as other players at first, Jalen Williams emerged as one of the top prospects in the scrimmage games and several test categories.
Jalen Williams 2022 NBA Draft Profile
Williams played three seasons for the Santa Clara Broncos. In the 2021-22 season, the junior averaged 18 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists. He also shot 51.3% on field goals, 39.6% on three-pointers and 80.9% from the free throw line. Throughout his college career, Williams improved rapidly, especially in scoring. Since his freshman season, he showed a huge leap from averaging 7.7 points to ranking second in scoring in the entire West Coast Conference.
In three seasons, Williams started in 74 games and with his help, the Broncos finished third in the West Coast Conference this season. In his junior season, the 21-year-old recorded many achievements, including the fact that he led the West Coast Conference in total points. Furthermore, Williams was a Lou Henson Award finalist and was selected to the All-WCC First Team.
Williams’s biggest strengths lie on the offensive end. He is a good shooter, especially from the free throw line and behind the arc. In addition to this, Williams is very capable of creating his own shot off the dribble. He can also easily break down a defense.
The guard is a good ball handler, especially on the pick-and-roll, and has no difficulty finishing at the rim. Both as the ball handler and off the ball, Williams is a rather patient player, with good shot selection and decision-making. This makes him a great facilitator and passer. It also sets him apart from other young players, who are often too eager to score right away.
At the Draft Combine, Williams recorded an impressive 7’2” wingspan. This was the best among the participating guards and is a valuable asset on defense as well as on offense. His long arms and reach allow him to guard taller players under the basket and to score against rim protectors.
Even though Williams is an athletic, young player, he is not as explosive as many other guards are. Furthermore, he could definitely improve his mid-range shots and take more of them, too. Currently, Williams opts for a drive to the basket or a three rather than taking many mid-range shots.
On the defensive end, Williams will benefit from some added quickness, especially when defending excellent ball handlers. Williams is a steady player, who quietly puts up his numbers, but he will have to work hard to keep up with some more prominent members of his draft class.
Williams shows several similarities to Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell. They are the only two players in combine history to impress and excel at the standing vertical leap, speed and wingspan. Just like Mitchell was in 2017, Williams could be a first-round steal.
Jalen Williams will probably be a mid to late first round pick. He has immensely increased his standing since he first entered the draft and was estimated to be a late second round pick.