Under the radar, or, in the background of a fantastic Kyrie Irving season, Derrick Williams disappointed in his rookie campaign. Before the year started quite a few pundits had the March Madness standout pegged for a better future than the eventual ROY. Eighty-two games later, and there is already concern about Minnesota's No. 2 pick.
Some of this isn't the fault of one Derrick Williams. He just happens to bear a role resemblance to Wesley Johnson, another small forward draft pick who went bust in Minneapolis. After two seasons of substandard production, I think we can safely say this about Johnson. For Williams, there's still time and reason to hope.
The fear is that Williams will turn out like recent Timberwolf Michael Beasley—another tweener who shot often, but without efficiency. Obviously, Derrick Williams isn't quite the off-court risk that Beasley was, but between Wes, Michael and, most recently, Derrick, Wolves fans have reason to be uneasy regarding their team's ability to groom wing players.
First, let's look at some Derrick Williams positives. He rebounded better than expected considering his average college board stats and switch from a frontcourt to a perimeter position. With 8.8 rebounds per 40-minute mark, Williams was often able to turn misses into highlights.
Williams did not attack the rim at the rate expected of him, though. He appeared unsuited to the wing role at times, floating when the game called for assertiveness.
His shooting numbers were awful, nearly across the board. From 3-9 feet, Williams shot 20 percent. From 10-15 feet, Williams shot 28.6 percent. From 16-23 feet, Williams shot 29 percent, and finally, from three, he claimed a mere 26.8 percent. D-Will was only decent at the rim, where he converted on 63 percent of his buckets.
Wolves can take some solace in that Derrick Williams might be ill-suited for his role. The problem with taking solace in this, is that Kevin Love is firmly entrenched in the PF spot. If Williams isn't in the right fit, there isn't really a way for David Kahn and company to test that theory.
I don't wish to knee jerk and do want to emphasize that the kid has time. It would not shock me to see Derrick Williams get it together from the perimeter, and I'm hoping he does. When he's on, the kid is fun.
But, gun to my head (no thank you on that scenario), I would bet against Derrick Williams working out in Minny. The track record is too dire for this team and he hasn't shown enough as a rookie to inspire much confidence. I hope I'm wrong, and there's plenty of reason I could be.
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