1. Ziaire Williams
Just recently, coach Jenkins seemed to suggest that even he’s not all that sure how the starting wing position will wind up shaking out, which is likely a result of the strong play put forth by the previously mentioned Roddy and former lottery pick, Ziaire Williams.
Selected 10 overall back in 2021, the 22-year-old has yet to live up to his lofty draft status through his two-year tenure.
Now, coming into year three, as a result of his poor play many have already gone on to write off Williams as a lowly draft bust that should be given up on.
However, through four preseason games played, it appears the wing is taking this time to show Grizzlies nation that he’s not exactly ready to write back.
During the early stages of training camp, Williams opened up about how he believes he has progressed as both a player and a pro throughout the offseason, and it seems he’s been displaying said progressions in virtually all aspects of the game with each opportunity he’s received thus far.
Seeing 20.4 minutes a night along with several starts, Williams is boasting averages of 11.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists while shooting 50.0 percent from the field and 45.0 percent from deep.
On top of this, the former Stanford standout has been showing his worth on the defensive side of the ball as well, as he’s averaging just shy of a block per contest and sports a 104.8 defensive rating, the best mark on the team of those who have seen four games of action.
Coming into 2023-24, it’s quite evident that Williams is approaching something of a make-or-break season.
Earning the primary small forward job would be a major win for the youngster and capping off the preseason with a strong performance could be all that he needs to officially snatch it away from Roddy.
Williams has publicly stated that he’s “ready” for a shot at a starting gig. Now it’s time for him to earn it.