In preparation for the upcoming 2020-21 NBA season, teams have been filling their rosters with talent, including two-way players. With Frenchman Killian Tillie signing with the Memphis Grizzlies.
The 22-year-old stretch big impressed during his time with the Gonzaga Bulldogs at the collegiate level. As he shot 44.4% from 3-point land over 108 games, on an average of 2.2 attempts per game. The Grizzlies spotted his talent and decided to give him an NBA opportunity on a two-way deal.
Players signed to a two-way deal spend the majority of the season in the G League. Normally two-way players are eligible to be called up to their parent team in the NBA for a maximum of 45 days per season.
With the 2020-21 season being shortened, two-way players can be active for up to 50 of the NBA’s 72-game schedule. Travel days and practices will not be included, as they have previously.
Like many top French prospects, Tillie was part of the well-renowned INSEP academy in Paris, France. The same institution that developed the likes of Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, Clint Capela, and many more. Prior to that, he came through the youth system of Olympique Antibes.
His growing talents were starting to garner recognition, which led to multiple college offers. With Tillie ultimately opting to join the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Making a Name for Himself:
In his debut season with the Bulldogs (2016-17), the French prospect averaged 4.2 points and 3.2 rebounds, in 33 games (12.3 MPG). He played in 14 minutes of the NCAA Championship game, in which Gonzaga lost to North Carolina, 71-65. In the contest, Tillie recorded 9 rebounds and 1 point.
His sophomore season (2017-18) is where he took a huge step up. Especially in his 3-point shooting. Where his attempts per game jumped from 0.7 to 2.6, with an incredible conversion rate of 47.9%. Over 36 games, he averaged 12.9 points (team 2nd-highest), 5.9 rebounds, and 1.7 assists. This was in just 26.2 minutes per game.
His junior season production was limited to injury, due to a stress fracture to his ankle. Over the course of his 4 years at Gonzaga, Tillie dealt with numerous injuries, including knee surgery, a torn foot ligament, a broken finger, and a broken hip pointer.
He managed to play 15 games, however. Averaging 6.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.5 assists. He did make a huge return in his senior year, ahead of the 2020 NBA Draft, as he posted career-highs (CH) in multiple categories.
Tillie averaged 13.6 points (CH), 5 rebounds, 1.9 assists (CH), and 1 steal (CH), in 24 games (24.6 MPG). This was on 53.5% shooting from the field and 40% from 3 (3.8 attempts per game). His performances earned him a selection into the First Team All-WCC.
After going undrafted in the 2020 NBA Draft, Tillie was signed on a two-way contract by the Memphis Grizzlies for the upcoming 2020-21 season.
Standing at 6-foot-10, Tillie has a great mobility that allows him to run the floor impressively well. That, coupled with his engine, makes him a strong fast break and rebounding threat. He has a great feel for the game and a polished offensive skill-set.
Most importantly, Tillie is the definition of a modern big man. As he possesses the ability to stretch the floor, and convert from 3-point land as a spot-up shooter. In his sophomore season with Gonzaga, he shot 47.9% from beyond the arc.
In the 2019-20 season, albeit a lower success rate, he still shot an impressive 40% from 3. Additionally, he can step inside and go to work in the mid-range and around the rim.
He also has a creative eye, carving out looks for teammates. In his 4-years with Gonzaga, he averaged 1.4 assists per game. This number sat at 1.9 in his senior year. On December 12, 2019, Tillie had a career-high 6 assists in a win over Washington.
The 22-year-old isn’t particularly long, but can be an active contributor on the defensive end. With his previously mentioned mobility allowing him to move his feet, especially on the perimeter. From time-to-time, he can sweep up in the paint with multiple blocks.
The main concerns come with Tillie’s injury history, and struggles to stay on the floor. Which may put question marks on his ability to complete a full, or the majority of, an 82-game NBA season.
Although, there is definitely a ton of upside with Killian Tillie should he stay healthy. He holds a modern skill-set that could most certainly develop further with time in the G League. Occasionally making the step up and contributing to the Grizzlies in the NBA, as part of his two-way deal.
Stay up-to-date with the latest from the NBA G League, as well as with the development of future elite prospects from around the world, by following Call-Ups on all social media channels.