Pick 26: Jalen Williams (Guard, Santa Clara)
Jalen Williams is the 21st-ranked prospect by ESPN and has steadily moved up boards since the season concluded. At Santa Clara, Williams was the on-ball engine of their offense. He averaged 18 points and 4.2 assists per game on 55.1% shooting on 2-pointers, 39.6% on 3-pointers, and 80.9% at the line. Williams looks like a good bet to be an efficient off-ball shooter who should be comfortable running the offense in limited looks.
However, the appeal of Williams is his length. He measured 6’4 ½ but has a 7’2 wingspan. His functional length is off the charts for a shooting guard and indicates that he could credibly guard wings and jumbo-sized playmakers like Luka Doncic.
Williams should be able to contribute right away in the NBA, and if his on-ball skills translate, he could be a fantastic compliment to the Rockets’ current backcourt. Even if he doesn’t have the juice to handle the ball in the NBA, his combination of length and shooting gives him a chance to fill a valuable role as a floor spacer and multi-positional defender. Much like Eason, there’s a likelihood he has a role in the NBA with an avenue to break out into something more.