NBA Draft 2011: Will Derrick Williams Be Selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves?

Camden PaschAnalyst IIJune 12, 2011

ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 24:  Derrick Williams #23 of the Arizona Wildcats reacts after defeating the Duke Blue Devils during the west regional semifinal of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Honda Center on March 24, 2011 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Minnesota Timberwolves have the second pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, which takes place June 23.

If the Cleveland Cavaliers do the expected and select Duke point guard Kyrie Irving with the first overall pick, then Arizona forward Derrick Williams falls into the lap of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

They have been openly shopping the pick for the right veteran player, but if the Wolves front office doesn't come across the package it desires, then does it take the best player available in the draft, which is likely to be Williams?

Minnesota is set at the power forward position as it has All-Star and face-of-the-franchise Kevin Love, as well as Anthony Randolph, who was acquired last season as a part of the Carmelo Anthony trade.

Even so, Williams has gone public to say he is a small forward and not a power forward. 

"I'm not a 4 [power forward], I'm a 3 [small forward]," he told the Minnesota Star Tribune. "Whoever picks me will find that out. I'm just a lot more skilled than most people think I am."

How skilled is the Arizona product? He averaged 19.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game while shooting 57 percent from behind the arc for the Wildcats. He has a big body for a small forward, much like that of LeBron James, as he stands at 6'8", 241 pounds. In a previous article, I broke down Williams' strengths and weaknesses.

Williams will be a special player to whatever team ends up with him, but that team may or may not be the Timberwolves. The reason for this is Michael Beasley.

How Beasley ended up in Minnesota has been covered time and time again, but he was acquired from the Miami Heat in what was basically a salary dump for two second-round picks.

Though it was a dump-off from the Heat, Beasley had a great season and started to show the NBA world why he was in fact the No. 2 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.

His statistics at the end of the season were commendable while they weren't even close to his limit. Beasley averaged 19.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game last season, and he certainly could have produced more had he not gone through injuries.

Here lies the all-important question for team president and general manager David Kahn and the rest of Minnesota's front office: Michael Beasley or Derrick Williams?

Williams would add youth to an already young team, but would bring a higher level basketball IQ as well. He is athletic to all standards and would have the chance to show he isn't just all hype from his impressive NCAA Tournament win over the Duke Blue Devils last collegiate season.

The problem with Williams, though, is that he is unproven in the NBA, where it all counts.

Beasley has already proven that he can score at will in the NBA and could be in the same conversation as fellow small forwards Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant someday, should he mature his game mentally. His game is strong, yet fluid, and he has already been an impact player for the Timberwolves.

Beasley is the player Minnesota should invest in at small forward. He's been in the NBA for three seasons already, but showed last year that he is just beginning to put it all together. It's too early to give up on Beasley after one season of basketball in which he played excellently.

If Williams is selected by Minnesota with their pick, should he be available at No. 2, then look for him to be the player shipped out instead of Beasley.