B/R writer says Grizzlies could view wing 'most valuable as a trade chip'

Feb 28, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins directs his
Feb 28, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins directs his / Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout this 2023-24 gap year, the Memphis Grizzlies have been able to determine that there are several players currently active on this roster that, with guys like Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Marcus Smart expected to be back in the fold and fully healthy next season, will likely continue to serve as key cogs within coach Taylor Jenkins' rotation.

Unfortunately, Ziaire Williams doesn't appear to have made this cut.

At least, that's what Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes suggested in a recent piece, as he noted that considering his continued underwhelming play in year three coupled with his injury woes, there's a reason to believe that the wing may best be served as a trade asset rather than a long-term commodity for this Grizzlies squad.

Ziaire Williams could be most valuable as a 'trade chip' for Grizzlies

"Ziaire Williams' season may be over due to hip and back injuries, which means he's out of chances to prove he belongs in the Memphis Grizzlies' big-picture plans.

The 22-year-old forward has shown brief flashes of potential in his three seasons, but injuries and a general inability to put the ball in the basket have combined to make the No. 10 pick in the 2021 draft look like a bust. Williams is still a rangy 6'9" and has the physical profile of the ultra-valuable two-way combo forward, but he's clearly been surpassed by less heralded teammates.

With his extension eligibility arriving this summer, Memphis could soon decide Williams is most valuable as a trade chip."

Grant Hughes

On top of all this, Hughes would also add that with the emergence of Vince Williams Jr. and GG Jackson this season, it may be difficult for Memphis to find minutes for their former lottery pick even if they did opt to hold onto his services.

Since being selected 10 overall back in the 2021 NBA Draft, Williams has yet to live up to the expectations that come with such a lofty status. Through three years and 150 regular season games, the 22-year-old sports sub-par averages of 7.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.2 assists while shooting 42.6 percent from the floor and 30.1 percent from deep.

Of course, despite his statistical shortcomings, he still has shown flashes of becoming a solid three or four in the association with his lengthy build and sheer athleticism, but after three seasons of failing to live up to expectations, it would appear that the patience of this Grizzlies team has worn thin and, as a result, he appears to be one of the more likely players to be parted with this offseason.