3 Utah Jazz rookies make first impressions in their new home

Draft picks Cody Williams, Isaiah Collier and Kyle Filipowski will all participate in summer league.

Under most circumstances, Jalen Williams touring the Zions Bank Basketball Campus would have been major NBA news. And the Oklahoma City guard, one of the NBA’s best young players, did, in fact, visit the Utah Jazz’s practice facility during the first week of the league’s free agency period.

Unfortunately for Jazz fans, that’s not why Williams was in Salt Lake City. Instead, he was there to welcome his younger brother, Cody, to the NBA.

But the Jazz hope that some of the reasons Jalen, 23, has found success in the NBA can rub off on his 19-year-old brother, Utah’s top pick in last week’s draft.

“It is a credit, first and foremost to his family. They’ve done a great job raising him, obviously with perspective with his older brother currently in the league,” Jazz general manager Justin Zanik said. “It’s not like every family has NBA players running around.”

Cody Williams credited the one-on-one games they played growing up in Arizona for their NBA success.

(Utah Jazz) Cody Williams, the No. 10 overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, is introduced by the Utah Jazz on July 2.

“We don’t go easy. You don’t get better that way. So they’re definitely super competitive,” he said while making his first appearance in Utah since being drafted. “I think the biggest thing is just (because of) how close our relationship is, we can go at each other 100%, and there will be no backlash, no hard feelings afterward.”

The Jazz have high expectations for Williams, but not right away — they know as a teenager coming into the NBA, he’s unlikely to be a positive player on opening night. That’s especially true for the 177-pound Williams, who struggled at times with collegiate size, let alone what he’ll face in the NBA.

“I think the biggest thing they told me was just continue to work hard and push myself to the next level,” Williams said. “I have an extra gear where I can work even harder.”

No. 29 pick and once highly-touted high school prospect Isaiah Collier also had his first workout with the Jazz on Tuesday; he brought his family to Utah for the occasion as well.

Collier’s body is much more ready for the NBA than Williams’ is — he’s already the kind of bulky point guard that loosens up defenses. But Collier’s skill level in shooting the ball and especially his defensive level need to improve a long way before the Jazz count on him for important NBA minutes.

(Utah Jazz) Isaiah Collier, the No. 20 overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, is introduced by the Utah Jazz on July 2.

“With young guys on our team, we’re trying to turn them into two-way players. He’s got all the talent physically and skill-wise to do that,” Zanik said. “Those are the most valuable players in our league, guys that can play both ways. There’s enormous potential there and we’re going to help him unlock it.”

No. 32 pick Kyle Filipowski also worked out with the team this week for the first time — a scenario that the Jazz didn’t see coming when they entered draft week. They figured Filipowski would be selected somewhere after No. 10 but before No. 29. When he worked out with the Jazz a couple of weeks before the draft, his representation likely hoped he could push the Jazz to select him with that No. 10 pick.

Instead, Filipowski fell out of the first round.

“Our entire staff couldn’t really believe that he was there,” Zanik said. “Frankly, it was a very, very easy choice for us. He was someone we really wanted. We basically ran to the podium when our pick was up.”

Filipowski’s style has been compared to that of former big man Kelly Olynyk, a comparison both Zanik and the former Duke big man agreed with when asked about it on Tuesday.

(Utah Jazz) Kyle Filipowski, the No. 32 overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, is introduced by the Utah Jazz on July 2.

“Kyle has a skill set that has a chance to him to differentiate him to become his own guy,” Zanik said. “But starting with liking to pass, understanding the game, knowing how to play — and having size and being able to dribble, pass, and shoot— it’s a good start.”

Filipowski said he hadn’t been to Utah before his workout with the team in the run-up to the draft, but has enjoyed his time here so far.

“There’s a lot of new people you’re meeting, you’re trying to find a new place to live, you’re just trying to start a new life here,” Filipowski said. “The best thing you can do with that is just enjoy it and embrace it all. So I’m super happy to be here.”

Jazz summer league roster

The Jazz also announced their summer league roster on Tuesday — and it’s one of the most talented Jazz summer league rosters ever.

All three of the Jazz’s draftees from last season — Taylor Hendricks, Keyonte George, and Brice Sensabaugh — and all three draftees from this season — Williams, Collier, and Filipowski — will participate.

So too will some more experienced Jazz players. Walker Kessler, entering his third NBA season, will play and look to continue to improve. Kenneth Lofton, Jr. and Darius Bazley, on the Jazz’s roster at the end of last year, are also on the summer squad.

The full 2024 Jazz summer league roster.

Jazz assistant coach Sean Sheldon, freshly promoted to the front of the Jazz’s bench, will be the summer league team’s head coach. The Salt Lake City Summer League will be played from July 8-10.