There were scouts propping up Xavier Tillman out of Michigan State as a steal in this draft, a high-energy big who was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, skills that should translate to the next level.
The Memphis Grizzlies are betting he can, inking the second-round pick to a contract, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Michigan State F Xavier Tillman Sr., — the 35th pick in the draft — is signing a four-year deal with the Memphis Grizzlies, sources tell ESPN. The Grizzlies moved up on draft night to secure Tillman Sr., in a trade.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 28, 2020
According to friend-of-this-site Keith Smith, while this is a minimum contract financially, the Grizzlies are using part of their mid-level exception to give Tillman more than the two years allowed on a minimum deal. The back end years of this contract are not guaranteed.
Xavier Tillman, 6’8″, plays an old-school game on offense but is a bit undersized to pull that off in the NBA. He will hang his hat in the NBA (at least to start) on the defensive end of the court — he has fantastic defensive instincts, can switch a pick-and-roll on the perimeter, and plays with great energy. This is a good contract and a good second-round pick by the Grizzlies to put with their young core.