Houston Rockets target #3. Ziaire Williams, Small Forward, Stanford
If the season ended today, the Houston Rockets would own the 11th pick and one prospect that can fit the bill for the team’s needs at the small forward position is Ziaire Williams. Ziaire is a 19-year-old freshman at Stanford University, who is listed at 6’8.
He was a five-star prospect by 247Sports, Rivals and ESPN where he was ranked 4th, 5th and 7th at the national level. The Houston Rockets have perhaps four out of five spots of their starting lineup filled out for next season.
- Point Guard: John Wall
- Shooting Guard: Kevin Porter Jr.
- Small Forward: TBD
- Power Forward: Jae’Sean Tate
- Center: Christian Wood
With John Wall still under contract and making an absurd amount of money, it is unlikely the team can trade him to bring any benefit for the team in the long run. Also, John Wall has had a good season thus far and has been a vocal leader for the team.
Kevin Porter Jr is still a young talent, as he is in his second year in the league. Assuming his off-court struggles will not hinder his future with the Houston Rockets, we can expect the organization to stay committed to KPJ’s development as the shooting guard moving forward.
The other two players, Jae’Sean Tate and Christian Wood, have been a bright spot for the Houston Rockets and are still relatively young. That leaves the team with a hole to fill at the small forward position.
Strengths of Ziaire Williams
Williams is a 6’8 versatile wing and has tremendous upside as a scorer with defensive potential. He has one of the highest ceilings as a scorer in this draft class, as he possesses a solid handle and has a knack to getting to his spots on the court while creating for himself.
Given his physical stature, it can be difficult for opposing defenders to defend him in open space. Not many at Williams’ size can effortlessly move and create shots like he can. Once he matures and gets stronger, he will only become more effective and truly blossom.
At Stanford this year, Ziaire has had an inconsistent season in scoring, however he remained consistent in generating good looks for himself offensively. Another appeal of Ziaire is he is comfortable in catch-and-shoot 3-pointers and has a good release on his form.
Other than creating offense for himself, Ziaire has also shown an ability to create for other teammates. He has been very effective in pick-and-roll situations and can move the ball freely, which can allow him to be a more dynamic player once he goes pro.
Defensively, Ziaire has been able to guard primary ball handlers and smaller guards. He moves well laterally and given his length, he can stay with his opponent quite well and possesses a good anticipation for the crosscourt passes. During his first year at Stanford, Williams is currently averaging 12.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.
Weaknesses of Ziaire Williams
As mentioned earlier, Ziaire has been an inconsistent scorer during his freshman year at Stanford. He has had his struggles, as this has led him to shoot 36.8 percent from the field. He has a slight frame as he only weighs 185 pounds, and this has been a problem for him with drives to the basket along with turning the ball over, roughly 3.4 turnovers per game.
A priority for him must be adding strength, as this will likely improve many areas of weakness for Ziaire.
Next: Draft prospect #2