The Utah Jazz needed to take the best player available with the 10th overall draft pick on Wednesday night, even if that meant choosing someone who didn’t necessarily fit a positional need for the Jazz. If that player just so happened to also be a versatile wing, it would have been the best case scenario for Utah.

Enter Cody Williams.

There was no guarantee that Williams was going to be available for the Jazz with the 10th pick. There was buzz for weeks that Williams could be a top-seven selection. Even so, the Jazz were hopeful.

In addition to all intel the team had leading up to 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 a pre-draft workout, which solidified what they believed about Williams — that he had top-10 potential and that if he was on the board at No. 10, they would take him.

The multiyear, behind-the-scenes work that goes into preparing for the NBA draft

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

“I had no idea if I was going 1-through-10, 1-through-15, 1-through-30, 1-through-60, like I really didn’t know,” he said. “I’m stoked to be part of Utah Jazz and really can’t wait to get down there and go to work.”

Williams went on to say that he loved the Jazz’s practice facility, calling it “obviously top-notch” and said his workout went really well. During the workout he said the team noted that if he was going to be able to play at altitude through 82 games, he’d need to get into better shape and work on his body, gaining a lot of strength. He also noted the need to become a more dynamic shooter, which gets at the only real flaw in his game that analysts have pointed to.

In his lone season at Colorado, Williams showed defensive and offensive versatility and shot 41.5% from 3-point range, but that shooting came on a low volume (1.7 attempts per game) and mostly on catch-and-shoot opportunities. So the question is, can he be a reliable shooter, who can make shots on the move, off the dribble and in spot-up situations and at a higher volume if need be?

The Jazz believe that the answer is yes and Williams does too.

Outside of that, Williams is right about needing to grow and work on his body. Although he has an incredible NBA frame at 6′6.5″ with a 7′1″ wingspan, he’s on the lighter side, which is completely understandable for a 19-year-old. All signs point to Williams being able to fill out and produce at a high level on both sides of the ball.

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


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

That’s exactly what the Jazz see too.

They saw that Williams was able to play with the ball in his hands but was also smart moving around as a slasher, cutter and screener. He’s a quick decision maker, is a good passer and can play on either side of a pick-and-roll. Defensively his length and versatility will be tested in the NBA, but he has a great defensive foundation.

The Jazz went into the night needing to take the best player available, but were also hopeful they could get a versatile, two-way wing who could become a long-term solution for their wing-deficient roster. They came away with one of the most promising two-way players in the draft.

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