Analysis of Utah Jazz pick Cody Williams – Deseret News

The Utah Jazz had to take the best player available with the 10th pick in the draft Wednesday night, even if that meant taking someone who didn’t necessarily fit a positional need the Jazz had. If that player was also a versatile wing, that would have been the best-case scenario for Utah.

Enter Cody Williams.

There was no guarantee Williams would be available to the Jazz with the 10th pick. There has been buzz for weeks that Williams could make the top seven. Despite everything, the Jazz remained hopeful.

In addition to all the information the team had before the pre-draft process, the Jazz were blown away by Williams when they interviewed him at the NBA Combine in May. Then they brought him to Salt Lake City for pre-draft training, which solidified what they believed about Williams: that he had top-10 potential and that if he was at No. 10 board rank, they would take it.

Williams told local reporters Wednesday night that when his agent asked him if he wanted to know what range he was going to be drafted in, he said he’d rather be surprised.

“I didn’t know if I was going 1-10, 1-15, 1-30, 1-60, like I really didn’t know,” he said. “I’m excited to be a part of the Utah Jazz and I’m really looking forward to getting out there and going to work.”

Williams later said he liked the Jazz’s practice facility, calling it “obviously top-notch” and said his practice had gone very well. During practice, he said the team noted that if he wanted to be able to play at altitude for 82 games, he would need to get in better shape and work on his body, gaining a lot of strength. He also emphasized the need to become a more dynamic shooter, which helps address the one real flaw in his game that analysts have pointed out.

In his lone season at Colorado, Williams showed defensive and offensive versatility and shot 41.5% from 3-point range, but that shooting occurred at low volume (1.7 attempts per game) and mainly on catch-and-shoot opportunities. So the question is: Can he be a reliable shooter, able to shoot on the move, off the dribble and in spot situations and at a higher volume when necessary?

The Jazz think the answer is yes and so does Williams.

Aside from that, Williams is right that he needs to grow and work on his body. Although he has an incredible 6′6.5″ NBA frame with a 7′1″ wingspan, he is on the slight side, which is completely understandable for a 19 year old. All signs point to Williams being capable of filling in and producing at a high level on both sides of the ball.

How might Williams fit in with the Jazz once he’s ready to play legitimate minutes in the NBA? Well, he said it very well himself on Wednesday evening.

“I think I fit into this group of guys just because of my versatility,” Williams said. “As a two-way player, I feel like I bring defense up front, which I feel like every team needs, but especially with this young core that we have. Being able to not only create for myself but also create for others with the talent that we have on this team and then kind of create offense with our defense, I feel like I can help this with my length. That’s how I kind of see myself fitting in.

That’s exactly what the Jazz are seeing too.

They saw that Williams was capable of playing with the ball in his hands but was also smart in his movement as a slasher, cutter and screener. He makes quick decisions, is a good passer and can play both sides of a pick-and-roll. Defensively, his size and versatility will be tested in the NBA, but he has an excellent defensive foundation.

The Jazz entered the night needing the best player available, but also hoping they could get a versatile, two-way wing who could become a long-term solution for their wing-deficient team. They walked away with one of the most promising two-way players in the draft.

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