The Memphis Grizzlies were thought of as a team that might trade up to higher than the 10th pick, which they acquired in a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans earlier this week in a blockbuster trade.
But the Grizzlies wouldn’t go any higher.
In fact, a few of the players that they planned to pick up were still on the board, even though they were projected to go much higher. Two of those notable players were James Bouknight and Moses Moody, who dropped from the top-ten projections that they saw in the offseason.
The Grizzlies didn’t take either of those guys.
The Memphis Grizzlies made a puzzling decision by drafting Stanford’s Ziaire Williams
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Ziaire Williams. I’ll go over his upsides and downsides in a second. That said, this pick was an unexpected one, as Williams wasn’t expected to go nearly as high as this. In fact, he wasn’t even projected to be off of the board by the time the Grizzlies’ original 17th-overall pick came around.
That’s what makes this so puzzling — did Memphis trade away Jonas Valanciunas for no reason at all?
This, however, can be disproven by the fact that this is a strong front office that knows what they are doing. Each pick they’ve taken thus far in the draft has been a great selection, so the Grizzlies must have been confident that they wanted Williams. This leads you to believe that somebody was planning on taking Williams earlier than No. 17, which forced this trade-up scenario.
Williams is a very large wing who didn’t shoot the ball particularly well in college. That said, he’s known to be a solid shooter who had a rough season at the college level in 2020. Even so, he has a deadly mid-range game when he’s on his game.
He’s a well-rounded prospect with strong athleticism and as a result, is one of the better finishers in this draft. He has enough length to be extremely disruptive on the defensive end of the ball, so hopefully, he can help a Memphis perimeter defense that struggled last season.
He’s a good ball-handler, much like De’Anthony Melton. Hopefully, Melton can teach him how to knock down a long-range shot.