NBA Rumors: Former First-Round Picks Who Could Be on the Move

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 31: Al Jefferson #25 of the Utah Jazz grabs a rebound during a game against the Dallas Mavericks during the first half of an NBA game October 31, 2012 at Energy Solution Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
George Frey/Getty Images

Taking a player in the first round of the NBA draft is a risky proposition.

No matter how talented he is, those talents don't always translate well from the college game to the NBA, for any number of reasons.

Sometimes a change of scenery solves the problem, sometimes not.

For these former first-round picks, a new team might fix what ails them, whether they want to move on from their current situation or not.


Derrick Williams, SF/PF, Minnesota Timberwolves (No. 2 Pick, 2011 Draft)

There were concerns about Derrick Williams moving from the college ranks to the pros in the buildup to the 2011 NBA draft.

He didn't really have a defined position and fell into the "tweener" category, but that didn't stop the Timberwolves from taking him with the second overall pick.

While he's averaging nearly 22 minutes a night for Minnesota this season, he's shooting 32 percent from the field and only getting to the free-throw line three times a game.

He's never really fit in with coach Rick Adelman's system, and the Timberwolves coach has been giving substantially more minutes to both Louis Amundson and Dante Cunningham over Williams.

That limited playing time is about to become even less with this news from ESPN's Chris Broussard:

Minnesota & Josh Howard agree to terms on 1-year, vets minimum deal, sources say

— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) November 15, 2012

For all of his struggles, Williams is still young enough where he could turn things around.

It just won't be in Minnesota.


Tyrus Thomas, PF, Charlotte Bobcats (No. 4 Pick, 2006 Draft)

When you're 6'10" and can't consistently score inside, there's a problem.

When you're 6'10", can't consistently score inside and can't rebound or defend well, you're a major liability.

As Alex Kennedy of USA Today's Hoopsworld notes, the Bobcats have been trying to unload Thomas, along with the three years and roughly $26 million left on his contract, for months:

The Bobcats would love to move Thomas, but finding a trade partner is easier said than done. When Charlotte was shopping the second overall pick prior to this year’s draft, they tried to package the selection with Thomas, but couldn’t find a taker.

That tells you all you need to know about how the rest of the league views Thomas.

But there's one thing that you can't teach in the NBA, and that's height.

Only 26 years old, someone might take a chance on Thomas, who is shooting 38 percent from the floor and averaging fewer than five rebounds a game for the second consecutive season.

They just won't give up anything of value for him—and Charlotte would have to take someone else's big mistake in return.


Al Jefferson, C, Utah Jazz (No. 15 Pick, 2004 Draft)

He's a 27-year-old big man who averages a double-double per game (15.0 points, 11.8 rebounds), but is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. With the Utah Jazz not approaching him about a contract extension, it's fair to wonder whether the Jazz would look to move him this year (h/t Boston Herald):

No, we haven’t had any conversations. I just think this is all about going out there and taking care of business. If I take care of my business on the court, like I'’ve said, everything else will take care of itself off the court. I’m not really concerned about it.

Jefferson went on to say that while his preference is to remain with the Jazz, he'd welcome a return to the Boston Celtics if the opportunity presented itself this coming summer.

With Enes Kanter ready for an expanded role in Utah, Jefferson could be a prime trade candidate as the season wears on, something Alex Kennedy of USA Today's Hoopsworld also notes.