For as much paint as they’ve slapped across the roster over the course of the past 15 months, Chicago Bulls’ executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley have more work to do.
Arming the franchise with its first winning team since 2016 is praiseworthy—especially considering one of their prized acquisitions missed more games than he played last season. But to keep the ball rolling, Karnisovas and Eversley need to find more size, shooting, and defense.
With the 18th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft in their pocket, should Santa Clara’s Jalen Williams be on their radar?
Who is Jalen Williams?
To the extent that the Bulls sorely lack players who can make an impact on both ends of the court, Williams could be made to order.
The 6-foot-5, 210-pound playmaking forward can do a little bit of everything as evidenced by the 18 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.2 steals he averaged as a junior. He also shot 39.6% from long range, including 44.3% on his catch-and-shoot attempts, and is said to have just begun to scratch the surface of his potential.
Williams isn’t exactly quick as a wink, to be sure. But with a physical profile — one that includes a 7-foot-2 1/4 wingspan — in the neighborhood of Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, he isn’t a stiff either.
All of the above — combined with his feel for the game, defensive activity, and ability to play on or off the ball — made Williams the talk of the NBA Draft combine in May. It also sent the All-WCC First-Team honoree’s stock skyward.
“As a well-rounded perimeter player with excellent measurables and the skills to play several positions, he’s easy to envision fitting in pretty much anywhere,” said Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo who, as of two weeks ago, had the Chicago Bulls snatching Williams off the board.
Unlike Tari Eason, Jalen Duren, and Mark Williams, Jalen Williams figures to still be available when the clock starts on the Bulls’ front office Thursday. The question is, with a roster in need of players with more diverse skillsets, will Karnisovas and Eversley be able to afford to leave him that way?