Re-grading the Grizzlies draft picks in the Zach Kleiman era

The Grizzlies need to build through the draft and recent misses have played a factor in their slow start.

Memphis Grizzlies, Zach Kleiman
Memphis Grizzlies, Zach Kleiman / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
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Grizzlies trade up for Xavier Tillman Sr. at 35th overall in 2020

Memphis used the 40th overall pick and a future second-rounder to trade up to 35. They wanted Tillman Sr. to be their backup center and did not hesitate to make this deal. After three seasons at Michigan State, the 6’8 big man was more polished and ready to quickly slot into the rotation.

Tillman Sr. played 59 games as a rookie and has primarily been in the rotation ever since. For his career, he averages 6.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 0.9 steals in 17.5 minutes per game. The 24-year-old won’t play massive minutes, but he is a quality reserve that the Grizzlies found in the second round of the draft.

Grade: B+

Tillman Sr. is ninth in VORP and 12th in win shares among the 2020 draft class, which is outstanding considering he was the 35th pick. This year’s second round was stronger than most with KJ Martin, Tre Jones, Paul Reed, and Isaiah Joe all being selected after the Grizzlies big man. This was the COVID draft where scouting was limited. Still, Memphis did well to land a rotation piece where they did.

Zach Kleiman continues to shine in the draft, but this is where things begin to flip for the Memphis Grizzlies front office.