Cavs should strongly consider Jalen Williams at #14 in NBA Draft

Jalen Williams, Santa Clara. Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images
Jalen Williams, Santa Clara. Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images /

Draft Season is upon us. Last Tuesday’s draft lottery saw the Cleveland Cavaliers, unfortunately, stay with the 14th overall pick. With their core set in place, the team is in a prime position to select a high upside player in the 2022 NBA Draft that could raise the ceiling of this team.

This team needs help on the wing position and should shoot for one that can create on-ball, shoot, and has length.

There are options that fit that mold like Ousmane Dieng, Tari Eason, and Ochai Agbaji, to name a few. These are the wings that have been most talked about in the mid-lottery range but recently, a new player has seemed to join the conversation.

That player is Santa Clara’s Jalen Williams who has turned heads following an impressive draft combine. The biggest thing that jumps out about him is his freakish length. Williams stands at 6’6″, sporting a 7’2″!! wingspan.

A three-year college player, this past year was Williams’ best season, posting college career-highs in points (18.0), rebounds (4.4), and assists (4.2) on 51.3/39.6/80.9 splits.

He is very comfortable as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, both as a scorer and passer. He excelled when working in the mid-range, a key for all of the top scorers in the league. He has great basketball IQ when it comes to his shot selection and can attribute that to his patience on the offensive end. The potential is there as a real on-ball threat.

Williams is someone who comes with some gripes, however. Despite his incredible length, he doesn’t have the athleticism to pair with it. This issue is most prominent on the defensive end, and one has to ask how someone with the length he possesses wasn’t a great defensive playmaker.

His lack of explosiveness/quick first step could also hurt his finishing at the next level. He rarely looked to finish through defenders and often went for “crafty-like” finishes that lead to some questionable misses.

These “weaknesses” seem ticky-tacky on the surface level. There are many players like Khris Middleton or CJ McCollum that, despite not having elite explosiveness, are still able to score and finish at a high level.

Defensively, his defensive playmaking/on-ball abilities could improve by having Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen as the backline defense. His length allows him to recover and impact shots if he’s beat and projects him as an incredible weakside defender.

This is a player that the team can develop and, hopefully, become a long-term wing option for them.

So, there is a lot to like about Jalen Williams but does he warrant a lottery selection?

As I said, Williams has been a late riser, and there are always risers as we get closer and closer to the NBA draft.

The Cavaliers should reach for a player that they want, though Williams isn’t looking like much of a reach anymore.

Next. Mock Draft 3.0: NBA Draft comes into focus with lottery set. dark

With that in mind, he should warrant strong consideration from the Cavs in the 2022 NBA Draft, which will commence on June 23.