2. Ziaire Williams, Memphis Grizzlies
Williams is not that dissimilar to Banton when you look at their profiles. Both went to underperforming major programs in Nebraska and Stanford, aren’t great shooters, and make their mark with length, athletic ability, and defensive versatility.
However, because Williams is younger and used to be a top recruit, he went No. 10 overall while Banton slid to No. 46.
Williams is averaging 5.0 points and 1.5 rebounds per contest. These are statistics not dissimilar to what Banton is doing on a team that has a nearly-identical record.
Raptors PG Dalano Banton and Grizzlies forward Ziaire Williams
Williams and Banton both project to be solid defensive-minded players. However, the fact that they have both gotten off to equally effective starts in the NBA has to be jarring for Memphis. While Banton hasn’t been an amazing shooter, he’s shown that he’s already made strides when compared to his college days.
Williams was billed as a raw prospect, but shooting 32% from the field and 28% from 3-point range is probably not what Memphis had in mind when they traded up in the draft to select him. Adding Banton with a late pick that was only acquired due to a midseason trade speaks to Masai Ujiri’s scouting eye.