Even before the Warriors found out what picks they would have in the 2021 NBA Draft, Steve Kerr and the Warriors' front office met with a number of prospects at the combine in late June. One of those players was Stanford's Ziaire Williams.
Williams said he got a "good vibe" from the Warriors after their first meeting and that it would be "a cool spot to be at for sure." Well, with two lottery picks in the draft, there's a chance Williams could land with the Warriors.
Mocked to be taken somewhere in the teens or early 20s, Williams could be an option for the Warriors' 14th pick. He's a work in progress, but Williams shows the ability to become a solid two-way player -- a position that is not only sought after around the league but that the Warriors could use more of.
Williams already has good passing abilities -- especially for someone at 6-foot-9 -- and has solid footwork, smooth movement and good speed which helps him create space to get to his spots or score off drives and in transition.
Williams' shooting percentages in his one year with the Cardinal were low -- he shot 37.4 percent from the field and 29.1 percent from three -- which would have to be improved, but he has decent form, demonstrated by his 79.5 percent shooting from the free-throw line.
On defense, Williams uses his height, as well as his 6-foot-10 wingspan, to stay in front of defenders and be an active disruptor in passing lanes. He's a solid rebounder, both defensively and offensively, which the Warriors could certainly use more of. Williams already is a strong team defender, but the hope is that he would continue to develop into a solid on-ball defender as well. That, in addition to improving his shot, would allow him to become a true two-way threat.
Until he gets his shooting percentages up, Williams needs to attack the paint more. If nothing else, this will get him to the free-throw line and will make him tougher to game plan for. Right now, since his offensive game is limited, he's a bit predictable for opposing defenses.
Some also see Williams' weight as a drawback. While his height and length are comparable to other forwards around the NBA, his 190-pound weight will limit his ability to truly bang in the post with other bigs. This also goes hand-in-hand with him getting to the line more.
The Warriors say they are in win-now mode. So drafting a project might not be high on their list. However, if they get someone with the seventh pick they see could make more of an immediate impact, taking a player who needs to develop with the 14th could be an option.
Ziaire Williams Profile
Position: Small forward Class: Freshman Birthdate: September 12, 2001 Hometown: Lancaster, Calif. 2020-21 season averages: 10.7 (37.4 percent FG, 29.1 percent 3-point, 76.9 percent FT), 4.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists. Height: 6-foot-9 Weight: 190 Wingspan: 6-foot-10 NBA comps: Brandon Ingram, Cam Reddish
What they’re saying: "An inconsistent freshman campaign with Stanford has dropped Williams down most draft boards. He started the season projected by most to be a top-10 pick, but he mostly failed to live up to that hype. The talent level is there, and put into the right situation, Williams could begin to show what made him so highly touted." -- The Rookie Wire, USA Today