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2021 NBA Draft Coverage: Ziaire Williams

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Could Williams fall far enough for the Jazz to draft the versatile wing?

Stanford v USC Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

A former five-star recruit, Zaire Williams didn’t have nearly the dominant season that being the sixth-best prospect in his high school class would typically entail. This has led to him falling out of lottery territory and maybe far enough that the Utah Jazz could make a play for the high-upside Williams.

BIO

  • Age (on draft day): 19.83
  • School: Stanford
  • Height (w/out shoes): 6’8.25”
  • Height (w/shoes): 6’9.75”
  • Wingspan: 6’10.25”
  • Standing Reach: 8’10.5”
  • Weight: 188 lbs

STATS

Per Game Table
Season School Conf G GS MP FG FGA FG% 2P 2PA 2P% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS SOS
2020-21 Stanford Pac-12 20 14 27.9 3.8 10.2 .374 2.7 6.2 .427 1.2 4.0 .291 2.0 2.5 .796 0.5 4.1 4.6 2.2 0.9 0.6 2.9 2.4 10.7 10.01
Career Stanford 20 14 27.9 3.8 10.2 .374 2.7 6.2 .427 1.2 4.0 .291 2.0 2.5 .796 0.5 4.1 4.6 2.2 0.9 0.6 2.9 2.4 10.7 10.01
Provided by CBB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 7/15/2021.

NBA fit

Williams has all the physical tools to be either a high-level role player or, at his ceiling, an All-Star caliber wing. Reaching the latter will require a lot of development, but there’s a nice floor.

Williams stands a couple hairs under 6-foot-10 in shoes and though he only has a wingspan of just over 6’10”, his standing reach still ranks 14th among the 65 participants that were measured. He also has solid athleticism and quickness — his lane agility time ranked third and shuttle run seventh. These physical traits make him capable of guarding 2-4 at least and maybe 1-5 in the future depending on his physical and on-court development.

The one physical measurement Williams lacks right now is weight. He was the 13th-lightest player at the combine with many guards tipping the scales heavier than the former Stanford forward. Adding weight will be key to his versatility on defense.

Speaking of defense, that’s the one area where Williams has some NBA-ready qualities. He’s a willing, active defender who plays the passing lanes well on that end. As previously said, there’s the potential for guarding multiple positions right away in Year 1.

On the offensive end, Williams is a project. There’s hope for him in most areas, but that’s it. There little substance right now. He shot very poorly on pretty much every type of shot in half court, from 29.1 percent from three, to 42.7 percent on two-pointers (big yikes there), and a fairly poor (especially for his size) 53.8 percent at the rim.

But as I said, there’s hope for all the key areas. Williams may or may not develop the pull-up midrange jumper (which he really liked to take in college), but his long-range shooting has plenty of potential. That 29 percent isn’t great but not abysmal and his shooting stroke is one that doesn’t need any overhauling. The biggest hope comes on free throws as he made nearly 80 percent of those.

Utah Jazz fit

The first question that ought to be asked is will Williams fall to pick 30. There were a few early big boards/mock drafts that had Williams falling to the first couple picks of the second round, but most mocks have him going sometime between 15-25. It’s possible he could fall if enough scouts are hesitant about how raw he is. More than likely, Utah would have to trade up to land Williams.

If the Jazz land Williams one way or another, he’d be a bit of a project, especially on offense, but there’s a possibility of him being an effective bench piece right away. He can pull his weight on defense for 10-15 minutes per game and hopefully be able to contribute more on offense as the season progresses.