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2022 NBA Draft Prospect Profiles: Vince Williams

Did the Grizzlies find their next diamond in the rougH?

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The Memphis Grizzlies Introduce Vince Williams Jr. Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Vince Williams, Forward, VCU

  • 6’6”, 210 pounds, 21 years old from Toledo, Ohio
  • Last season at VCU: In 30 games (32.4 minutes per game) — 14.1 points on 47.7% shooting (38.7% from 3, 81.4% from the free-throw line), 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1.6 steals
  • Four-year college career (all at VCU): In 110 games (23.4 minutes per game) — 8.6 points on 44% shooting (36.7% from 3, 77.3% from the free-throw line, 4.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.2 steals
  • 3 STATS OF STRENGTH (per Tankathon): Defensive Rating (88.7 per 100 possessions), TS% (62.9%), Defensive Win Shares (.103 per 40 minutes)
  • 3 STATS TO IMPROVE (per Tankathon): Turnovers (3.2 per 36 minutes), Fouls (3.2 fouls per 36 minutes), Draft Age (21)
  • AWARDS AND ACCOLADES: 2020-2021 All-Atlantic-10 Third Team, 2021-2022 All-Atlantic-10 First Team

In the Grizzlies’ post-draft press conference, GM Zach Kleiman said that the Grizzlies weigh body type when drafting but that ultimately it is more about the basketball and culture fit. Williams brings both. At 6’5” with nearly a seven-foot wingspan, Williams is built to be an NBA wing. And according to Taylor Jenkins and Kleiman, Williams — along with the rest of the Grizzlies’ draft class — fits the culture Memphis is building.

Memphis has as loaded of a depth chart as you will find and with four new additions, Williams will have to earn himself playing time. What can the VCU alum bring to Memphis?

Areas of Strength

Going into the 2022 Draft one of the Grizzlies' primary needs was three-point shooting and with each pick, Memphis addressed this weakness. Williams was a 38.7% three-point shooter last season and Tankathon projects that he will shoot around 38% from deep in the NBA. Williams shoots confidently; he averaged 5.6 three-point attempts per game in 2022. Williams’ smooth shooting does not stop at the three-point line. In his senior season, he had a True Shooting percentage of 62.9.

The Grizzlies have added promising perimeter defenders like Ziaire Williams and Desmond Bane in recent drafts, and the VCU grad fits this bill. Averaging nearly two steals per 36 and boasting a defensive rating of 88.7, he is projected to be as good as a defender as many of this year’s top picks. Williams’ impressive wingspan and muscular build make it very difficult for players to drive against him. At the professional level, Williams can defend guards, forwards, and even smaller paint players. This defensive versatility was obviously enticing for Kleiman and Jenkins, and if Williams finds playing time, this skillset will make him very valuable.

Areas of Weakness

Williams’ main weaknesses are common and fixable. As one of the primary scorers and creators last season, he averaged three turnovers. Williams will operate with the ball much less in the pros. In Memphis, he is surrounded by talent who will relieve the offensive pressure placed on him at VCU. Personal fouls and offensive rebounds were problems in college for Williams. Jaren Jackson Jr. also possesses these weaknesses but he has become a young star anyways.

Williams is a gifted athlete with a high basketball IQ. He will be fine. These flaws are common among young NBA players. He will develop and commit fewer fouls and turnovers. Under the new regime, the Grizzlies have shown they could not care less about players’ draft age. With the exception of Ziaire Williams, Memphis’s recent selections have all been about finding the right fits and the best basketball players. They often take advantage of other teams passing on older players. The Grizzlies snagged Brandon Clarke, Desmond Bane, and Xavier Tillman, all of who played at least three years in college. In 2022, the Grizzlies continued this trend, drafting three players over the age of 20 – Williams being the oldest.

Memphis Grizzlies Introduce Draft Picks Press Conference Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Memphis Outlook

Williams touched down in the 901 last week and he will not waste time getting to work with his fellow rookies. Williams and LaRavia already met in the 2022 NIT tournament but now they will get to showcase their competitiveness on the same NBA roster.

Barring a barrage of injuries to the main roster, Williams will spend time with the Memphis Hustle. Williams may be called up at some point, but time in the G-League will give him the opportunity to iron out his few weaknesses while adjusting to a new level of competition after playing in the Atlantic 10 for four years.

If Williams does earn playing time on the main roster, Kleiman and Jenkins may have found another diamond in the rough.

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