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 into the top 10 to land Ziaire Williams in 2021

Memphis wanted a more defensive-minded center, so they traded Jonas Valanciunas for Steven Adams. In the swap, the Grizzlies moved up from 17th to tenth in the 2021 NBA Draft. They were eager to add a wing with upside to their young core, but few expect Kleiman and company to take Williams in the lottery.

He had mixed results in his lone season at Stanford and was viewed by many as a late first-round pick. Getting a 6’8 wing with potential is always tantalizing, but Williams was a project. He joined the rotation quicker than most expected, but there are questions about his upside after two years.

Grade: D

The Grizzlies desperately needed a starter at the three to begin this season and Williams could not hold down the job. He is averaging just 23.1 minutes per game in his third season and shooting under 40 percent from the field. A top-ten pick should be further along at this point, especially when Memphis left a massive hole for him to fill this season.

Alperen Sengun, Trey Murphy III, Jalen Johnson, and Herb Jones were all selected after Ziaire Williams. The 22-year-old still has time to improve his game, but can he even become a starter and 30-minute per game player in his prime? There are serious questions and the Grizzlies hoped to get more from a top ten pick.