With the Toronto Raptors set at shooting guard with DeMar DeRozan and power forward with Ed Davis and Andrea Bargnani, they must now look to fill the holes at point guard, small forward and center.
Even more, while filling these spots on the roster, they must look to acquire players that will improve overall team defense and rebounding while still being able to help the team on offense.
Furthermore, they must also find players with a good understanding of the game that can help this young group of players or a young high ceiling player that can add to the youth movement.
At least one of these positions can be addressed in this year’s draft as there are some two point guards in Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker, a great selection of small forwards to choose from with Derrick Williams, Harrison Barnes and Terrence Jones in that pool and one good center in Enes Kanter.
To be honest, I would be more than happy to see the Raptors come away with any one of the six players I just mentioned, and chances are, they will.
If you go by current standings, the Raptors will end up with the fourth overall pick, and, if they continue to lose and Washington and/or Minnesota decide they’re going to finish the season strong, the Raptors could end up picking even higher.
Depending on how the lottery goes, the Raptors could possibly move up one or two spots to the second or third overall pick (sounds pretty good doesn’t it?), yet just as easily, they could fall down a spot or two to the fifth or sixth pick.
That being said, regardless of where the Raptors lottery pick lands, if Derrick Williams is still available, he is their best choice and here is why…
Derrick Williams is a versatile scorer with the ability to beat you three different ways.
He can attack the rim and get to the free-throw line on a consistent basis, score low in the post and, finally, create his own shot on the perimeter and knock it down from medium and long range.
As I just touched on, Williams gets to the free-throw line very often, and when there, he shoots a high percentage. This is something all NBA teams look for and need, especially the Raptors, who are currently ranked 19th overall in free-throw attempts per game and 21st overall in free-throw percentage.
His complete offensive repertoire is no doubt augmented by his above average basketball I.Q. and his great court vision. This is most noticeable in his shot selection.
Also, when Williams is not driving to the rim or creating his own shot on the perimeter, he is also very smart without the ball in his hands. His ability play off the ball goes hand-in-hand with the playmaking abilities of Jose Calderon, who is more than capable of getting him the ball when and where he wants it.
Derrick Williams just plain understands how the game works on the offensive side of the ball; he knows when to do what and exactly how to do it.
The Raptors are a young team, and by drafting Derrick Williams, they can continue the youth movement and get a savvy player with a very high ceiling at the same time.
*Just to clarify, I am not saying that Derrick Williams will just jump into the league and be as cool as a cucumber out on the court. As is the case with all rookies, he will need time to adjust to the NBA. However, because of his above average understanding of the game, I expect him to make an impact almost immediately with a couple breakout games early in the season and settle in to become very consistent as the season progresses.
This, without a doubt, will make him the man to beat in terms of the Rookie of the Year award.
Derrick Williams plays a lot like DeMar DeRozan. Both are athletic slashers that have/will move down a position in their NBA careers (DeRozan went from small forward to shooting guard, and Williams will go from power forward to small forward).
For Derrick Williams, the advantages of moving down a position will be most noticeable on offense (as is the case for DeRozan). His size and strength facilitate the process of getting by his man, attacking the rim and drawing a lot of fouls.
Because he is so good at getting to the rim he gets a lot more looks from the charity stripe and he is given a lot more respect on the perimeter. The extra real estate on the perimeter makes it that much easier for him to create his own shot and utilize his above average shooting ability.
In addition to making things easier for himself, his style of play with also result in a ton of open looks for his teammates and ultimately an improved Toronto offense.
This one is pretty simple. Derrick Williams averaged 8.3 rebounds per game this past season for Arizona, meaning he would be a great choice for any team looking to improve their overall rebounding.
Derrick Williams will certainly be one of the better rebounding small forwards in the league and rebounding is certainly one area where the Raptors need to improve.
In regards to rebounding, drafting Derrick Williams would certainly be a job well done for Bryan Colangelo.
Standing 6’9'' with a wingspan around 7’0'', Williams is able to get by as a power forward in college, but as I’ve already mentioned, when he comes to the NBA, he will move down a slot to play small forward.
The general consensus is that Williams is an average defender at the power forward position. However, to analyze him as a power forward makes him out to be an average to below average defender. That being said, when you look at this 19 year old's defensive abilities as a small forward, it is hard not to be pleased with what he brings to the table in regards to height, strength and defensive awareness.
He is not overly quick, but this is not that great of a problem, because he knows how to use his size and strength in order to stay in front of his man. Although he will not be a lock down defender in the NBA, he certainly not be a liability on the defensive end.
Also, to stress the age factor once more, he is only 19. So with some good coaching, I expect that he will be able to make some pretty big strides on defense.
At just 19 years of age, Derrick Williams is already a very intelligent player with good court vision who can score a lot of points in a lot of different ways. In addition to his offense, he will also be one of the top rebounding small forwards in the league on both the defensive and offensive glass. His defense is his only real possible weakness, but as he develops, you can expect that it will improve.
Derrick Williams is also a perfect fit for the Raptors as he is a smart, well-rounded player that fills their void at small forward and will be a top candidate for Rookie of the Year honors.
He will immediately improve the team’s rebounding and will also improve the team’s offense, which is currently ranked 17th overall in points per game.
His defense is not amazing, but as he develops, it should improve and allow him to contribute to the team on this side of the ball.
Finally, although he is only 19, he offers an above average understanding of the game. He obviously does not bring the same experience that a veteran small forward would bring should the Raptors acquire one in free agency, but he will no doubt develop in to a strong leader no matter which team he ends up playing with.
Let’s just hope it’s the Raptors.