After being named the #1 small forward prospect in the 2020 recruiting class, Ziaire Williams shocked many. Ziaire chose to go to Stanford University over many other basketball programs including USC and UCLA. Despite this, he managed to make a name for himself in his sole season at Stanford. Mainly, he showed potential for the big stage. Overall, Williams makes a good case for being a lottery pick. He has skills that others have not possessed, and his flaws are improvable.
Ziaire Williams 2021 NBA Draft Profile
Ziaire chose Stanford in April of 2020 and made his debut in November, the same year. To start the season, Williams was not in a great situation. He had to deal with personal-related issues and the team was forced to stay in hotels. As a result, his statistics were deflated because of the team not being great combined with smaller sample size. There are many things, however, that stand out in his game. His athleticism and speed are great, compared to many of the other draft prospects. He is very shifty for someone of his body frame and has good ball-handling skills.
His efficiency wasn’t great at his only season at Stanford. However, there was a smaller sample size, as he only played 20 games. Williams was also taking many shots that he wouldn’t take if he wasn’t the clear #1 option. His burst to the rim is also something incredible to look out for. Williams by no means is an elite shooter. However, he showed great promise with his shot mechanics and has the potential to be a very solid shooter in the big leagues.
Williams also has great defensive mechanics as well. He didn’t have eye-opening box score stats on the defensive end. However, he clearly could defend the perimeter very well, ensuring his possibility at the small forward position. He is not elite on the defensive end, but clearly has potential on both ends.
Williams has many strengths, namely his shot creation. His ability to become a three-level scorer is huge in the current NBA. His efficiency isn’t eye-opening and clearly isn’t great but he has clear potential there. As stated earlier, his shot mechanics are completely fine, and he can shoot off the dribble. His size is also very key. He can be the guy a team may need to take over the game at different points offensively with his size, shot creation, and scoring combined. He is very unselfish as well and is a willing passer.
Despite the strengths of his game, Williams has glaring weaknesses. While his ability to guard the perimeter is there, it could still be worked on. With high-level NBA talent attacking the rim, it could be tougher for Williams to be able to completely stay in front of his man. He is turnover-prone, but that can be easily fixed. His efficiency, as stated before, isn’t great, but he shows promise there as well. He isn’t an elite perimeter shooter, and likely won’t ever be, but he has the potential to be solid overall from anywhere on the court.
I can definitely see a comparison here of Rashard Lewis. Lewis started out as an okay shooter, but a solid three-level scorer who could create his own shot. His outside shot came eventually along with his defensive intangibles. Ziaire may be the better playmaker, but this is one of the more closely matched comparisons of Williams that there is.
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