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Derrick Williams had an impressive collegiate career at the University of Arizona, which led to him being selected No. 2 overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. At the time, some members of the NBA community believed Williams to be the safer pick for the Cleveland Cavaliers at No. 1 overall over Kyrie Irving.
In spite of that, Williams has been a bit of an enigma to start his NBA career. His lack of a true position between the small forward and power forward spots, coupled with inconsistent playing time, has hindered his NBA development.
Williams has experienced highs and lows throughout his brief NBA career, and this season is no exception. Williams had a 0-for-10 shooting night on Nov. 10 against the Chicago Bulls. However, the 21-year-old forward also had a 23-point, seven-rebound, four-block effort against the Golden State Warriors on Nov. 16.
The former UA Wildcat has had his ups and downs, but following that 23-point outburst against Golden State, Williams didn’t play a single minute the next game against Denver (during Kevin Love’s surprise return). This was a befuddling occurrence even with the return of Love, and it speaks volumes about Williams’ place in Minnesota.
What place is that you ask? Well, I suppose we don’t exactly know.
Williams will conceivably get vastly fewer minutes now that Love is back in the rotation following injury. In addition to that, Andrei Kirilenko, who was signed as a free agent this offseason, has played very well for Minnesota. His 19.10 Player Efficiency Rating is much better than that of Williams (13.99).
Also, Kirilenko is more experienced and brings a veteran presence to a very young team, so it’s hard to see Williams getting heavy minutes as long as Kirilenko is healthy.
As a former No. 2 overall pick in the draft, Williams still has a great deal of potential. However, with the players Minnesota has on its current roster, D-Will may be the odd man out.
Unfortunately for the Timberwolves, Williams’ stock isn’t exactly at a high point. Even so, there should be plenty of teams looking to add the young forward’s services.
If nothing else, at least the 5-7 Timberwolves would be mixing things up.