Former Utah Jazz second-round pick Nigel Williams-Goss is set to return to the team after a successful two-year stint in Europe.
Since coming to terms with free agents Ed Davis, Jeff Green and Emmanuel Mudiay, the Utah Jazz have made the curious decision to delay those signings. The reason: Jazz brass still has work to do with the back end of the roster and has been exploring options to round out the team before altering their cap situation.
On Saturday, the Jazz reportedly pulled off one such move, giving themselves added depth on the bench and bringing a familiar face back into the fold in the process.
Per Eurohoops’ Nikos Varlas, combo guard Nigel Williams-Goss — who was originally selected by the Jazz in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft — is buying out of his contract with Greek squad Olympiacos in order to sign a three-year pact in Utah.
Williams-Goss had signed a three-year, $2 million deal with the one-time EuroLeague power last summer.
The story goes that Utah was originally tipped off to Williams-Goss by Jazz legend and fellow Gonzaga alum John Stockton. He had also garnered national attention by leading the Zags to a 37-2 record and the NCAA title game (where they lost to UNC) that year.
However, after getting drafted with the 55th overall pick, the 6-foot-4, 195-pounder struggled in summer league. Myself and others felt at the time that his best move would be to go develop his game in Europe.
As it turns out, he did just that to great effect.
Playing for KK Partizan, Williams-Goss led his club to a Serbian Cup (its 14th championship win) and captured MVP honors in the process. Across all league and Cup competitions in 2017-18, he averaged 17 points, seven assists and nearly four boards per game while hitting on 48 percent of his triples.
That performance caught the eye of several EuroLeague teams (Partizan played at the EuroCup/second-tier level) and, in the end, NWG signed on with Olympiacos for 2018-19. Despite a higher level of competition, the Jazz draftee managed to put up better than 10 points and four dimes per contest and shot 38 percent from 3-point range.
While NWG joins what is now a very crowded Jazz back court, with Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell locking down the lion’s share of the minutes, his outside shooting and vocal/communicative nature on the floor and in the huddle should be assets to the Jazz and their depth.
Look for the Jazz to continue to survey the field of available players/prospects before finishing up with Green, Davis and Mudiay.