Derrick Williams is on the block, but will he actually be moved?
Derrick Williams certainly hasn't lived up to the expectations he generated before being selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 2 in the 2011 NBA draft, and now his team is attempting to unload him for an opportunity to move up in the 2013 version of the player-selection process.
According to the Pioneer Press' Charley Walters, the Wolves are looking to package D-Will and the No. 9 pick in the 2013 NBA draft for a chance to move up:
Looks like TWolves will try to deal Derrick Williams and No. 9 pick to move up in NBA draft.
— Charley Walters (@Charley_Walters) June 3, 2013
Based on team needs, Minnesota is doing this for a better shot at landing a standout wing player in a notoriously weak draft. In another Walters report, head coach Flip Saunders confirmed the prevailing assumption that he is looking for height at the 2:
Because we're so small there...Outside of (6-6 Alexey) Shved, who can play the '2', our other guys who play '2' a lot, (J.J.) Barea and Luke (Ridnour), are 6-foot players and having to guard guys like (6-6) Kobe Bryant and those guys.
What you want is a '2' guard that has size and can shoot the ball.
Based on those quotes, it's a safe bet that Minnesota is working toward drafting either Victor Oladipo, Ben McLemore or Shabazz Muhammad. That's the assumption we'll be working with when analyzing these potential trades.
As you read on, please note that the following trades are speculation. They have not been confirmed by any legitimate sources and, as such, have not officially entered into the rumor mill.
Potential Trade: Derrick Williams and the No. 9 Pick for the No. 2 Pick
The Minnesota Timberwolves would be getting a high enough draft pick here that there’s no need to include a player in return. By giving them the second selection in the draft, the Orlando Magic essentially would be assuring that the Wolves will be able to land the player they most covet.
I believe Minnesota's main motivation in moving up is twofold: It wants to unload Williams while his value is still relatively high, and it wants to land either Victor Oladipo, Shabazz Muhammad or Ben McLemore, as discussed on the first slide.
Seeing as the Cleveland Cavaliers are likely to either draft Nerlens Noel, select Otto Porter in a draft-day twist or trade away the pick, Minnnesota would have the pick of the litter in this scenario.
But, would the Magic do it?
They might be hesitant, but the ultimate summer goal for Orlando general manage Rob Hennigan should be to stockpile as much talent as possible. If that means adding one non-rookie and moving down a few spots, it would make sense because he's doubling the number of high-potential players that he brings on to the roster.
Parting with the No. 2 selection would be painful, but it would ultimately maximize the Magic's chances of landing a special player. Remember, Williams could still develop into one.
Potential Trade: Derrick Williams and the No. 9 Pick for the No. 3 Pick
Let's play the same game we're playing with every other potential trade in this article: Does this trade allow the Timberwolves to get what they need? And would the other team do it?
The answer to the first question is still a resounding yes. With three primary targets and only two teams selecting ahead of them in this situation, there's a 100 percent chance that either Ben McLemore, Shabazz Muhammad or Victor Oladipo would still be on the board.
In fact, it's likely that two of them will be, because Nerlens Noel won't be slipping down to No. 3.
We're all clear on that front.
The problem here is that there's no reason for the Washington Wizards to make this deal with Minnesota. They're an up-and-coming team with sights set on a playoff spot at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, putting them in a drastically different situation than Rob Hennigan and the Orlando Magic.
Washington no longer needs to be randomly adding talent and hoping it works out because the pieces are already in place. Now the Wizards can target more specialized players and really start thinking about how everything fits together into one complete playoff puzzle.
That's why they have a target firmly etched onto Otto Porter's back.
Derrick Williams wouldn't fit with this team because the Wizards are looking for a small forward, and the former No. 2 pick is markedly worse at the 3 than the 4. According to 82games.com, Williams played better defense against opposing small forwards, but it wasn't enough to make up for his lack of offensive production.
He posted a PER of 9.3 at small forward and 14.5 at power forward. Both are below the league average, but he was well below at the 3.
Williams isn't the piece Washington is looking for.
Potential Trade: Derrick Williams and the No. 9 Pick for the No. 4 Pick
Unlike the Washington Wizards, the Charlotte Bobcats find themselves in a situation similar to the one faced by the Orlando Magic. They just want to acquire talent.
Barring a ridiculous rash of injuries to all other Eastern Conference teams (yet somehow bypasses the Bobcats), Michael Jordan's organization isn't going to be competing for a playoff spot anytime soon. The team has a few intriguing pieces, but it's still squarely in the talent-collection portion of the rebuilding process.
Although the combined jump-shooting inconsistency of Byron Mullens and Derrick Williams would be infuriating—especially when coupled with Bismack Biyombo's glaring obliviousness on the offensive end—the acquisition of a former lottery pick who hasn't yet been given a true chance to shine would actually be a savvy move.
Especially because this is a weak draft, moving down five spots wouldn't hurt the Bobcats all that much.
However, the concurrent jump up in the order would do wonders for the Minnesota Timberwolves, because it would give them the ability to draft one of their targets.
The expected order of the first three picks is Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore and Otto Porter—meaning that both Victor Oladipo and Shabazz Muhammad would be left on the board.
Seeing as that's their motivation for this trade, it's hard to see why the Wolves would hesitate to pull the trigger.
Potential Trade: Derrick Williams and the No. 9 Pick for the No. 5 Pick
Once we get down to No. 5 overall, we're starting to push it on whether Ben McLemore, Victor Oladipo and Shabazz Muhammad would still be on the board. The UCLA product would be available, but the other two are more iffy.
Quite frankly, Muhammad should be available at No. 9, where the Minnesota Timberwolves are originally picking, which leads me to believe that the other two wings would be the primary targets in these potential trades.
McLemore—barring an unforeseen draft-day plummet—would be long gone by the time David Stern is strolling to the podium for the fifth time, but No. 5 is right where I expect Oladipo to go. The Charlotte Bobcats don't have a need for his skill set, so expect them to take either, Alex Len, C.J. McCollum, Anthony Bennett or Trey Burke and, if somehow available, Nerlens Noel, McLemore and Otto Porter before Oladipo.
Minnesota should be able to draft Indiana's defensive ace if a move to No. 5 is in the cards, but the Wolves can't fall in any lower than that.
While this looks good for Flip Saunders and the Minnesota brass, I don't think the Phoenix Suns will make a move. What would be their motivation to do so?
The Suns could use Oladipo's athleticism and three-point stroke at the 2, and there's a drop-off among the prospects expected to go after the fifth pick—at least at the positions they're interested in.
Derrick Williams also doesn't fit in too well with the Suns, as they already have the Morris twins, players who are naturals at the 4 and can slide over to small forward when necessary. Plus, they both have jumpers capable of spreading out a defense, and that's one of D-Will's primary assets.
Minnesota would need to sweeten this deal in order to make it happen, but it's not worth them including anything else since Shabazz should still be available at No. 9.
While the Minnesota Timberwolves technically have more than the four options presented in the previous slides, those four make far more sense than any others.
Sure, the Wolves could target the No. 1 overall pick and attempt to pry it away from the Cleveland Cavaliers. But why exactly would Cleveland want that?
Remember, the Cavs could trade that selection for Kevin Love, but Joe Kotoch of SheridanHoops.com believes that still wouldn't be enough. According to his speculation, Minnesota would also have to include picks No. 9 and No. 26, as well as a 2014 first-rounder, in order to make it work.
The drop-off from that package to Derrick Williams and the No. 9 pick is rather significant. Significant enough to prevent anything from happening, in fact.
If you move in the opposite direction and start analyzing the sixth, seventh and eighth overall picks, there isn't enough motivation for the Timberwolves to make a deal.
Why would they give up Williams just to shift up a few spots in the draft and grab a player they could likely have at No. 9?
That just doesn't make much sense.
Unfortunately for Minnesota, the options are rather limited. Based on this overview, the Wolves are going to stay put, improve the package or make a trade with either the Charlotte Bobcats or Orlando Magic.
Smart money is on the first option.