One of the SEC’s top forwards a year ago, Williams was once again expected to be a significant piece for an Arkansas team that will be one of the conference’s best in 2022-23 should he have returned to Fayetteville. However, after remaining in the 2022 NBA Draft, when might the Razorbacks power forward hear his named called, and just how big of an impact could he have in the professional game?
SEC Basketball 2022 NBA Draft Preview: Arkansas PF Jaylin Williams
Looking at his time with the Razorbacks, Williams originally came to Arkansas as a four-star prospect in the 2020 class. Williams would however average only 3.7 PPG and 4.7 RPG as a freshman in 2020-21, playing primarily in a reserve role for the Razorbacks who averaged 15.9 MPG.
The 2021-22 season however would mark a breakout sophomore campaign for Williams, one in which he emerged as a full-time starter for the Razorbacks. One of SEC Basketball’s top interior defensive players, Williams would average a combined 10.9 PPG, 9.8 RPG, and 1.1 BPG for the Razorbacks to earn First Team All-SEC and SEC All-Defense honors.
A breakout season from the Razorbacks sophomore, there were few players in SEC Basketball this past year as impactful on both ends of the floor than Williams. After impressing throughout the pre-draft process as well, what about Williams on the court will translate best at the next level?
The biggest strength for Williams is not only his size at 6-foot-10, but the athleticism that he displays with that size. Williams has the potential to be an instant-impact defender in the NBA from day one as an interior presence who can defend both at-and-away from the basket, and wins with his high basketball IQ defensively, evident by his NCAA leading 54 charges drawn this past season.
Williams is also a strong rebounder, as his 9.8 RPG this past season ranked second in SEC Basketball, something that should translate as well. Offensively, the Arkansas power forward excels at finishing around the rim, and is a capable free throw shooter as well who holds a 73.1% career mark from the charity stripe.
How He Projects in NBA
At the minimum, Williams will likely be an instant-impact frontcourt defender at the next level, as well as a solid bench option as a rookie next season. As for the offense, there is a chance that Williams could become an impact scorer, but that largely depends on the development of his three-point shot, as he only shot a combined 25.5% in two seasons with the Razorbacks.
Potential Draft Fits
There are multiple SEC Basketball names to watch for in the late first round, and Williams is yet another name in that group. If he doesn’t come off the board in the late first round however, expect Williams to be selected in the early second round, likely anywhere from picks 31-40.
Williams will be selected in the early second round of the 2022 NBA Draft.