Thursday, August 18, 2022

Former Michigan State big man Xavier Tillman joins former teammate Jaren Jackson Jr. with the Memphis Grizzlies

Tillman was the 35th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft

November 18, 2020
<p>Then-junior forward Xavier Tillman (23) shoots a layup while Maryland’s Jalen Smith defends him (25). The Spartans fell to the Terrapins, 60-67, at the Breslin Student Events Center on Feb. 15, 2020. </p>

Then-junior forward Xavier Tillman (23) shoots a layup while Maryland’s Jalen Smith defends him (25). The Spartans fell to the Terrapins, 60-67, at the Breslin Student Events Center on Feb. 15, 2020.

Photo by Matt Zubik | The State News

After ending his Michigan State career one year early, Xavier Tillman has been selected by the Memphis Grizzlies with the 35th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Tillman will join his former teammate Jaren Jackson Jr. in Memphis. The Grizzlies are in the midst of a rebuild and are looking to add around Jackson and star point guard Ja Morant.

Tillman projects to be a solid NBA big man who can play both inside and outside. Despite being undersized at 6-foot-8 at the center position, Tillman makes up for it with his incredible work ethic and performance on the defensive end of the floor.

Tillman is a player many NBA teams coveted for his ability to spread the floor, as he reportedly impressed scouts with his improvement in his final season with the Spartans from beyond the arc. In addition, Tillman’s playmaking ability as a big man is a trait teams liked to see.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer described Tillman as a “winning player who can easily pair with star shot creators because of his playmaking and versatility.”

Tillman in his time at Michigan State averaged 13.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.

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