Ziaire Williams was the eighth-ranked recruit in the 2020 high school class.
After spending his first three years of high school at Notre Dame High School, the six-foot-eight wing transferred to Sierra Canyon for his senior season.
He joined a star-studded squad that featured BJ Boston, Terren Frank, Amari Bailey and the sons of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, and went on to play a demanding schedule with an absurd number of miles traveled for teenagers, featuring more appearances on ESPN’s platforms than the Knicks.
Williams ended the season as the best player on the team on offense. Sierra Canyon played a my turn, your turn (Boston), my turn, your turn, his turn (Bailey, sometimes Frank) approach in the half-court, mostly relying on the brilliance of its wings in isolation, and occasionally in pick-and-roll.
The 18-year-old exceled at creating his offense one-on-one and the sheer volume of talent at Sierra Canyon’s disposal consistently overwhelmed most of the competition it faced in California.
On the other end, he held his own when challenged one-on-one and showed glimpses of being able to defend the point of attack effectively but needs to develop a lot physically to be considered an option to guard the power wings his height suggests he should match up with in the pros.
The Stanford-commit also did not prove to be much of an asset in help defense, which was sort of a disappointment considering his combination of physical profile and athletic ability.
ESPN ranked fifth in its way-too-early 2021 mock draft and Williams enters his freshman year college viewed as one of those prospects could end up the number one pick in the draft one year from now.
- Aggressive pull-up shooter
- At times overaggressive – not shy of taking long-range pull-up bombs early in the shot clock on no-pass possessions
- Plays with good rhythm stopping on a dime and rises with good balance off the bounce
- Has shown a knack for getting to his spots around the elbow
- Creates separation via crossovers, hesitation moves and going between the legs into a step-back – has a pretty good handle for someone his height
- Has a quick first step, not just off the catch but out of a standstill position as well, and managed to get to the basket in a position of strength constantly in high school
- Not very quick with the ball and struggles to play through contact but can pivot into a well-coordinated spin move to gain ground when he’s forced out of a straight-line drive
- Prone to driving into crowds
- Has shown some comfort going to his left hand around the basket
- Prone to challenging rim protectors without a plan
- Not strong enough to finish through contact regularly due to his thin 180-pound frame in the context of his six-foot-eight height
- Explosive leaper off one foot with a head of steam behind him but tends to act more as a rim-level finisher in traffic
- Can adjust his body in the air for double-clutch finishes and reverses around rim protectors
- Has flashed a floater off a jump-stop to finish over length from the in-between area
- Can make basic reads on kickouts off drawing two to the ball and drop-offs off engaging the last line of defense
- Took some smooth two-dribble pull-ups in side pick-and-roll
- Ran the occasional middle high pick-and-roll off a catch-and-hold
- Can deliver basic jump-passes to the roll man over the top
- Hasn’t shown anything particularly impressive in terms of creating for others on more advanced reads
- Plays with some pace working to create separation for a one-dribble pull-up
- Passes ahead to speed up the pace of the game
- Can grab-and-go off a defensive rebound and take it end-to-end
- Explosive leaper off one foot with a head of steam behind him to go up with power for windmill dunks
- Explosive leaper off two feet to play above the rim as a target for lobs filling the lanes
- Will take a smaller/weaker matchup to the post every once in a while
- More often looks for basic turnaround fadeaway jumpers, at times off a hiked leg
- Has shown glimpses of a face-up package, for now most commonly looking for a no-dribble jumper off a jab-step
- Has a very fluid catch-and-shoot stroke
- Catches on the hop
- Needs a slight dip for rhythm but it’s not that pronounced
- Fully extends himself for a high release
- Has great guide-hand discipline on the follow through
- Shows great weight transfer on spot-ups
- More of an open-shot shooter at this point of his development, having not yet shown much versatility to his release
- Has great rhythm and balance shot-faking into a one-dribble pull-up off an escape dribble against flyby closeouts
- Approaches the opponent in more of a hunched down posture rather than bending his knees to get down in a proper stance
- Has a few lateral slides in him in one direction to stay in front out in space but is unable to contain dribble penetration through contact at this point of development
- Has shown glimpses of attempting to leverage his length into reaching around for steals or taps
- Flashed some side-to-side quickness to stay attached to smaller players in isolation
- Puts in the effort to contest pull-up jumpers and can get a block on occasion
- Doesn’t do well sliding cleanly around screens but works to go over the pick at the point of attack as well as he can and hustles in pursuit to challenge shots effectively from behind
- Hustles back in transition and can pick up the occasional chase-down block
- Decent position defense clogging driving lanes, not so much to leverage his length into making plays from the side but stunting in an extra step to draw a charge
- Can jump a passing lane but doesn’t really play with the sort of intensity needed to wreak havoc to create steals and deflections in volume
- Doesn’t really mix it up on scrums under the rim
- Not always all that inclined to boxout
- Pretty soft with his boxouts whenever he does put a body on whoever is close by
- Does contribute to the rebounding process by crashing the glass, impressing his explosiveness chasing the ball off the rim
- Extremely uneven with his closeouts
- At times, impresses with his urgency and his balance running the shooter off the line and subsequently sliding fluidly to defend off the bounce
- At others, flies by and gets blown by
 DOB: Sep/12/2001
EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara