Reported earlier today by Eric Woodyard (and others), the Utah Jazz and French swingman William Howard have reached a verbal agreement pending a buyout with his current team, Ligomes of the LNB Pro A league.
The Utah Jazz have a verbal agreement in place to sign French wing player William Howard, but it’s “still far to go with buyout and contract signings,” per a Deseret News source. He is still under contract with Limoges in France.— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) July 15, 2019
This would be an excellent low-risk, high-reward signing, and Howard looks like the kind of diamond-in-the-rough player that the Utah Jazz have made a habit of uncovering.
William Howard was born in France, but played high school basketball at New Hope Academy in Forestville, Maryland. After initially committing to the University of Washington, he changed course and went back to France to play professional ball with BCM Gravelines-Dunkerque in the LNB Pro A league.
Howard is a 6’8”, 205-pound wing with long arms (though finding an official wingspan measurement has proven difficult). He is a willing and versatile defender, anticipating passes and disrupting the flow of the offense. The video below showcases many of his defensive talents and instincts. The play that starts at the 57 second mark is especially impressive. Howard is guarding the ball handler, and a big comes up to set a pick. After Howard’s teammate blitzes the pick and roll, Howard has a nice recovery to prevent the pass and forces a turnover with his long arms and great reaction.
Howard also has a nice-looking shooting stroke and a versatile all-around game. His per-36 stats in international play are quite similar to two other players that transitioned from the international game to the NBA. Two of these players should be quite familiar to Jazz fans...
Thabo Sefolosha, Nic Batum, and Royce O’Neale. If Howard can transition to the NBA even half as well as they did, this is a steal for the Jazz.
Howard is definitely a guy to keep an eye on this year. #TakeNote