Congratulations to Xavier Tillman, who was drafted No. 35 overall (in Round Two) by the Sacramento Kings and traded to the Memphis Grizzlies!!!
Tillman’s NBA career kicks off with the Grizzlies and will see him playing for Taylor Jenkins and the exciting coaching staff in Memphis. Tillman will play alongside his good friend and fellow Spartan Jaren Jackson Jr. and the amazingly talented Ja Morant.
Coming in with the strengths and weaknesses he possesses and the current roster construction, Tillman will likely have a significant role for the Grizzlies as they build out their young core. Memphis plays with Jaren Jackson Jr. and Jonas Valanciunas as the starting front-court, but Tillman looks set to have an early role off the bench. I would expect him to play in the regular rotation if he can play like he did at Michigan State and demonstrate an improved three-point shot.
The fit here is superb and Tillman should work to improve on his shooting as the season progresses — while Valanciunas will not cede his role as the starting center, and while Tillman will likely not replace Brandon Clarke as the first big off the bench, Giorgi Dieng is the only other big with a clear role on the team; at least it was clear before Tillman arrived. Dieng has become a solid-if-unspectacular reserve center, but Tillman, if he continues his developmental trajectory, should be able to take Dieng’s minutes against smaller more mobile teams. Bottom line, Spartan fans have a new surrogate NBA team to cheer for (if they weren’t cheering for the Grizzlies already).
Go Xavier!!! And...