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Ole Dirty Klondike

The Ziaire Williams Guide

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1 minute ago, Ole Dirty Klondike said:

Who? As far as I can tell, everyone on this board wants the Grizz to succeed. 

That  doesn't necessarily mean ppl just on this draft board ---sheeshh. 

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3 hours ago, Rdk4121 said:

I feel like the plan might be to let Kyle play at PG if they don't plan on using Tyus and haven't found a replacement yet. One of Melton, Grayson, or Bane starts at SG. Brandon either might start at PF, or Kyle starts then gets subbed out early so he can play with the bench unit. Something like that. 

i though this as well vs JJJ playing center.  options would be ja/dillon/kyle/JJJ/adams with tyus/allen/bane/BC/tillman off the bench OR ja/allen or bane/dillon/kyle/JJJ with tyus/melton/allen or bane/BC/adams off bench.  could also replace tyus w/ kyle in the bench unit to run point in a melton/allen or bane/kyle/BC/adams lineup.

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15 minutes ago, srmjr23 said:

Some people are wanting this guy to fail so they can say I told you  so about draft night

Uhhhh, what? Being frustrated with the F.O. and wanting a kid to fail - that's a wide gulf, my friend. 

I hope he's everything they believe him to be. I hope he's good enough to start when we're in the Finals. 

I'm unconvinced we got proper value for moving JV. There was a lot of smoke that the Grizzlies wanted to move up even further. I think they aren't lying when they are enthused about Ziaire, but I bet there was one other "pie in the sky" player they were hoping all the cards would fall into place for.

When I saw the 2 picks that went before us, I go back in time to one of the drafts I watched where the commentators said that some teams will draft who they think the team behind them wants. It may have actually been during the Thabeet draft (I can't believe I haven't blocked that whole thing). Why? Who knows. But personally, either of them I would have been much more excited about blending with our guys.

That's last night though. ZW is a Grizzly now, and I want him to be great. But I'm still going to wonder if this is going to be the year our FO fell back to earth after a few superlative drafts. 

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42 minutes ago, Ole Dirty Klondike said:

Because in the lead up to the draft no one really talked about him coming to the Grizz at #10 so people were interested in/infatuated with players like Giddey, Kuminga, Duarte, Moody, Wagner and the top picks.

When I say people knew about him, what I mean is, his name wasn't unfamiliar. Just like now, there are a handful of top hs recruits who will enter college bball next year and will be in the draft next year. People may be familiar with the name but haven't done a deep dive. He wasn't on most people's radar for the Grizz at 10 so people didn't do a deep dive and it was a shock for most people.  They were caught off guard. Collège bball last year was weird (as with everything else because of COVID). His team underachieved and had a lot of injuries so he kind of fell off of people's radars but he was in mock drafts, people just didn't think the Grizz would take him at 10 so they didn't deep dive into their research on him. Now Santi Aladama was a total unknown to people on this board (except our Spanish posters).

That was my entire point in the first post. Why wouldn’t these crying motherlovers try to get to know him, like I did already, before jumping into suicidal conclusions?

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12 minutes ago, russian grizzly said:

That was my entire point in the first post. Why wouldn’t these crying motherlovers try to get to know him, like I did already, before jumping into suicidal conclusions?

Motherlover hah! 
 

I always think of Old Gregg

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Just now, Teddy.B said:

I think ZW might have a Jeremi Grant like S curve in his career. 

Going to take years then a sudden jump. 

 

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Herrington: Draft night surprised because of what we thought we knew

With the dust settling from Thursday night’s NBA draft, let’s sift through the remains of the day:

We had it half right?

For all the surprise of the Grizzlies’ selection of Ziaire Williams, in retrospect we had a pretty good notion of their guiding principle, just not the specifics. All week, my elevator pitch of what I thought they were doing was that they were “trying to get the highest upside player they can who fits with Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr., both on the floor and on their timeline.” Simpler version: The best young wing available.


Grizzlies pick Santi Aldama: A man of mystery


Grizzlies trade up to 1st round, select Aldama of Loyola in Maryland


That was in fact what they were doing and this was actually well understood. I also think that, despite the usual “we got our guy” post-draft proclamations from Grizzlies decision-makers, observers were correct in concluding that the team’s move up to No. 10 wasn’t about a single player but rather some universe of acceptable options.

What absolutely no one outside the Grizzlies war room knew: The composition and order of that universe of players, and that not only was Williams in it, but likely toward the top of the list. 

Speaking of that war room, there has been some post-draft suggestion that team vice president Tayshaun Prince had a heavy influence on the selection. In an earlier era of Grizzlies hoops, parsing the often competing influences of different front office figures was a kind of sport. In these more buttoned-up days, when basketball ops honcho Zach Kleiman is both final decision-maker and avatar for his larger staff, there’s much less of that. But I see no reason to doubt that the quiet, highly regarded Prince wields plenty of appropriate influence on player evaluation, here and elsewhere. 

Back to where he once belonged

A year ago, Williams was projected to be a top-10 pick in the 2021 NBA draft. Moses Moody and James Bouknight, whom the Grizzlies bypassed to pick Williams, were not. Fast-forward through a full college basketball season and endless mock drafts and rumors and, hey, look at that: Williams wound up being a top-10 pick in the 2021 draft and Moody and Bouknight did not. If you conclude, as the Grizzlies apparently did, that Williams’ misbegotten college season was worth mostly ignoring, then this was not a surprising pick. Time will tell if the team was correct in that approach.


Zach Kleiman brings Grizzlies fans a night of shockers


Williams pick reactions

Some post-draft media reactions to the Williams pick:

From ESPN’s Jonathan Givony: “Ziaire Williams started the season projected as a top-5 pick but saw his stock drop after a disappointing, disjointed campaign at Stanford. He was able to rebound from that in the pre-draft process by showing his significant talent in workouts, and measuring a hair under 6-foot-10 in shoes, giving him tremendous size to go along with elite-level shot-making prowess. The Grizzlies are betting that Williams' projection in the NBA is closer to that of what we saw in high school compared to the version at Stanford.” 

 

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From The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie: “There is some legitimate All-Star upside here, and he flashed it at times this past year in a significant way. But if he doesn’t have the ability to get stronger with what looks to be a frame on the slighter side, and the shooting merely translates to ‘good,’ and he continues to struggle to shoot it off the catch, there are some worlds where Williams ends up out of the NBA within five years.”

From The Athletic’s John Hollinger: “Williams had an awful year at Stanford but his size and potential still had a lot of teams in the teens interested; I wasn’t as blown away but the Grizzlies did have a need for more size on the wing.” 


NBA draft: Grizzlies pick Ziaire Williams at No. 10


From The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor: “This is the first reach in years from the Grizzlies, and maybe the first pick of theirs I’ve disagreed with in recent memory. Memphis traded up to No. 10 to take Williams, who was a top high school recruit, but had ups and downs during his freshman season at Stanford. Anyone with his size, score, and fluidity has a chance to become a long-term success, but he’s still very raw at this stage of his career. He is a good positional fit next to Ja Morant, but his selection provides more questions than answers.” 

The Aldama plan?

There was something going on here but we don’t know quite what it is. The Grizzlies’ trade-up pick at No. 30, Santi Aldama didn’t really participate in pre-draft activities, with the league or teams. There was some speculation that the Oklahoma City Thunder were responsible for shutting him down with the intent of taking him in the second round and the Grizzlies jumped ahead to steal him. There was somewhat differing speculation that it was the Grizzlies who shut Aldama down, with the intent of taking him in the second round, but had to jump up to 30 when they found out the Thunder planned to steal him. 


Calkins: Just don’t be surprised if Grizzlies draft shockers work out


Regardless, Aldama probably wasn’t quite as out of left field as it seemed. As I noted on the afternoon of the draft, in speculating about potential Grizzlies options at No. 40, Hollinger had given Aldama a first-round ranking and both Vecenie and ESPN’s Kevin Pelton had him ranked among the draft’s top 40 prospects. 

Will Aldama be on the roster next season or will the Spanish forward head back overseas to marinate at least another season? That still seems undetermined. First-round selections come with two guaranteed seasons, but that contract doesn’t have to begin next season if the parties agree to wait. 

Right now, it’s hard to imagine more than one of Jontay Porter, incumbent G Leaguer Killian Tillie and Aldama all on the same 15-man Grizzlies roster next season. The assumption here is that Porter will be gone, with Tillie and Aldama, both essentially “stretch” bigs, in the mix for one spot. 


Herrington: Grizzlies surprise on multiple fronts with confident, risky draft night


The rest of the West

The big move in the West on Thursday didn’t happen in the draft, but via trade, with the Los Angeles Lakers sending out three good rotation players (Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) for former MVP Russell Westbrook.

Remember, as part of Monday’s trade agreement with New Orleans, the Grizzlies will be receiving the Lakers’ 2022 first-round pick as long as it isn’t in the top 10. Obviously, the Lakers made this deal to raise their championship ceiling. But the regular season is what will determine where their pick — now likely the Grizzlies’ pick — falls. Will this make them better or worse in the regular season, where it could take time to build chemistry and where a lack of depth could make them more susceptible to injury-related struggles? 

Elsewhere, there were no big deals for the Portland Trail Blazers, who appear to still be in a holding pattern. With Josh Primo, the youngest player in the draft, coming in and free agent DeMar DeRozan likely going out, the San Antonio Spurs seem likely to be taking a step back next season.

The Sacramento Kings spent a lottery pick on what will almost certainly be a backup guard (Davion Mitchell) and then publicly failed to trade away sharpshooter Buddy Hield, who presumably will be moved in the coming weeks. Interestingly, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported Friday morning that prior to their deal with New Orleans, the Grizzlies had been in heavy talks to send center Jonas Valanciunas to the Kings while trading up from No. 17 to No. 9. (I didn’t see Valanciunas to New Orleans coming, but had speculated about the Grizzlies sending him to center-needy Sacramento.) The Golden State Warriors are presumably still eyeing the trade market, despite adding two lottery picks on Thursday night. 

Next week’s free agency should further clarify the projected West pecking order. Draft night didn’t seem to shift it much.

 

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I don't want this kid to fail. I think he can be special. I just want him to hit those shots. 

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Ziaire Williams kept a secret and the Grizzlies delivered

The newest member of the Memphis Grizzlies, No. 10 overall pick Ziaire Williams, arrived at FedExForum Friday afternoon with a grin from ear to ear, his draft night cap still glued to his head and franchise basketball operations brass standing on either side of his 6-foot-9 frame. 

He looked around the crowded media room, eyes shifting past his parents seated in the front row. He was giddy. 

The swing that the Grizzlies’ front office took on a player following a trade that sent a core player to New Orleans was followed by an equally momentous swing of emotions. 


Herrington: Draft night surprised because of what we thought we knew


“There were a lot of different emotions, happy, anxious and a little nervous,” Williams said of the previous night. “We were talking the whole time about the different possibilities and outcomes.”

But the 19-year-old claims there was one place he wanted to be the most: Memphis, home of a young foundation that just made its first trip to the playoffs. 

“I kept that a secret, because I didn’t want to mess it up,” the rookie said. “But truthfully, honestly, my family would tell you that with Tayshaun (Prince) and Zach (Kleiman), this is really where I wanted to be.”

Mom and dad nodded in agreement. 


Grizzlies pick Santi Aldama: A man of mystery


So Williams got his wish, formalized by the “Beale Street Blue” jersey presented to him by vice president of basketball operations Kleiman and coach Taylor Jenkins. 

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A Los Angeles kid, he will wear No. 8 in honor of the late Kobe Bryant, a player he grew up idolizing.

“If I’m going to wear his number, I better represent him the right way,” Williams said. 

If he’s any semblance of Bryant, the Grizzlies will be over the moon. A draft pick some considered controversial would suddenly be a thing of genius. 

 

“We had conversations at the beginning of the season within the front office saying, ‘My God, if we can some way wind up with Ziaire,’ ” Kleiman said. “We were highly unlikely to end up in that position in the draft.”

Then they took destiny in their own hands to secure the prospect, a player with a long way to go in his development but a star-potential ceiling.

Williams knows what stardom looks like. He experienced it himself as part of one of the most-hyped high school basketball teams of all time, the 2019 group at Sierra Canyon in California. 


Grizzlies trade up to 1st round, select Aldama of Loyola in Maryland


That team featured fellow five-star recruit and 2021 draft pick Brandon Boston Jr.; “Bronny” James, son of superstar LeBron James; and Zaire Wade, son of Dwyane Wade. They played games on ESPN, sold out gym after gym and had their own docuseries that aired on Amazon. 

“That was a great experience for sure,” Williams said. “From the publicity, to the sold-out crowds and all of the traveling, I feel like that really helped me prepare for the next level.”

Dwyane Wade, who Williams called his “uncle,” was quick to send him a congratulatory text message after the pick. LeBron James, his other “uncle,” gave him a shoutout on Twitter. 

It was quite the coronation, even if it felt insignificant to Williams. It took a moment for the 19-year-old to realize that he’s now going to play against his friend’s dad. 

“Dang, that’s really just hitting me right now,” Williams said. “That’s crazy, I’m really going to play against LeBron.”

So it’s safe to assume the first time he and Ja Morant get the chance to link, there will be no moment of starstruck awkwardness. There will be no spotlight too bright for the rookie, who doesn’t seem to have any problem setting the bar extremely high. 

Who does he model his game after? Oh, just Kevin Durant, ever heard of him?

“Growing up, watching him gave me confidence every time people told me I was too skinny,” said Williams, who is listed at 185 pounds.


Calkins: Just don’t be surprised if Grizzlies draft shockers work out


The others include Jayson Tatum, Dillon Brooks and Morant. Who can fault him for having big goals?

But before allowing Grizzlies fans to daydream too long, it’s probably best to return to the present — to Memphis — where Williams has a home again after a tumultuous, COVID-19 influenced season with Stanford spent in hotels and away from campus. 

He hasn’t played in front of fans since the state championship game his senior year of high school. That will (hopefully) change the first time he puts on Grizzlies blue. 

“It feels like the weight of the world is off my shoulders,” Williams said. “It was a tough year (at Stanford). We didn’t know if we were even going to play the next game. So I’m super excited to be here, this is a dream come true.”

 

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1 minute ago, Ole Dirty Klondike said:

 

Yea that jives with Front Office strategy of sort of using the Draft in lue of Free Agency to get Big Time talent.   They found a kid they wanted a while back then made moves to get him regardless of draft position.   They are willing to take on bad contracts to get the draft pick they want.    That's next level stuff. 

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I want to thank many of the regulars on the board. They contributed to an exciting roller coaster ride. I don't watch College ball so I don't know about prospect comparisons.

Before I checked any news, I got home from work on draft night and started reading the draft thread here.

The JV positioning trade had been a slow steep climb of more than the usual pre-draft tension.

Then the messages about the pick began the doom and gloom and a fast rush to the bottom.

I wallowed in that a while before watching the kid's vids and starting the momentous next climb.

My guess is that he wowed em in the workout. He hit shot after shot. If he can do it in games, he'll be a great fit, soon, next season.

He's got a lot of work to do but, out of the gate, he can get that step-back off against anyone in the league.

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I admit - I don't like the pick.  But I wish Ziaire nothing but the best success and I look forward to admitting I was wrong in a few years.  I have been wrong before ... namely I was wrong in giving up on Mike Conley after two years.  I hope I learned my lesson & will be patient with Ziaire's development into a solid wing for us.

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33 minutes ago, pjs said:

I admit - I don't like the pick.  But I wish Ziaire nothing but the best success and I look forward to admitting I was wrong in a few years.  I have been wrong before ... namely I was wrong in giving up on Mike Conley after two years.  I hope I learned my lesson & will be patient with Ziaire's development into a solid wing for us.

I will settle for ZW being a Robert Horry/Danny Green hybrid.  He does remind me of Horry... nice looking jumper.  “Upside” as an ideal 4th option or halfway decent 3rd option.  I just don’t want him spamming jumpers like Emoni Bates (I like ZW better than Emoni Bates).

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7 hours ago, tangogriz said:

He's got a lot of work to do but, out of the gate, he can get that step-back off against anyone in the league.

Great post.

This last bit hit the nail on the head. He is taking those KD turnaround fades and step backs. KD is his idol and he crafted his game after him.

How many times have I read on these boards we need a rangy SF? Ever since we traded Rudy Gay.

Hope ZW becomes the missing piece to take us over the top!

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11 minutes ago, SC Grizz said:

Great post.

This last bit hit the nail on the head. He is taking those KD turnaround fades and step backs. KD is his idol and he crafted his game after him.

How many times have I read on these boards we need a rangy SF? Ever since we traded Rudy Gay.

Hope ZW becomes the missing piece to take us over the top!

He also has a few outs since I think he can be a high level role player like Robert Horry or Danny Green or Shane Battier.  

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1 hour ago, ALT GRIND said:

He also has a few outs since I think he can be a high level role player like Robert Horry or Danny Green or Shane Battier.  

He reminds me no one. Definitely not Danny Green or Shane Battier. 

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28 minutes ago, russian grizzly said:

He reminds me no one. Definitely not Danny Green or Shane Battier. 

His highlights show potential for lots of upside.  More like some of the top shot makers and creator types.

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Alot of people talk about his offense but I really wanna see how he does on defense we really need someone who can help out brooks vs bigger wing players.

Also with his body type he should help in the passing lanes.

P.s the undrafted kid from TN could be that guy as well.

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18 minutes ago, costarica2 said:

Alot of people talk about his offense but I really wanna see how he does on defense we really need someone who can help out brooks vs bigger wing players.

Also with his body type he should help in the passing lanes.

P.s the undrafted kid from TN could be that guy as well.

Pons can probably guard all the front court guys.  I would put ZW on 2’s at this point.

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1 hour ago, ALT GRIND said:

His highlights show potential for lots of upside.  More like some of the top shot makers and creator types.

He can create for himself and others. That thing alone differentiates him from all three players listed above. His body resembles Durant with a shorter wingspan.  

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1 hour ago, costarica2 said:

Alot of people talk about his offense but I really wanna see how he does on defense we really need someone who can help out brooks vs bigger wing players.

Also with his body type he should help in the passing lanes.

P.s the undrafted kid from TN could be that guy as well.

Scouts i read and listened too - raved about his defense.   They believe he can become a 2 way wing if his shot translates.    As much as i like Christopher - his ceiling isn't near Ziaire's.    Z would be a perfect fit between Ja and Jaren - FO has the right idea.  Let's hope they can work that magic. 

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