Derrick Williams had one of the greatest years in University of Arizona basketball history a couple of seasons ago. He then was drafted #2 overall in the NBA draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wildcats have been placing lots of players into the NBA and they have had long and distinguished careers. As Arizona Wildcat basketball fans we love to see how our favorite former players are doing, so here is a recap of Derrick Williams 2012-13 season and future expectations.
Derrick Williams averaged 12.o points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game this season for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Those numbers only begin to tell the story of Derrick Williams season. The Timberwolves struggled all season long with injuries and this forced Williams into an extended role on a really bad team.. When Kevin Love went down with an injury to his right hand on Jan. 3rd we finally got to see Derrick Williams play more. Williams averaged 13.8 point per game and 5.9 rebounds per game after Love’s injury. It doesn’t sound like a lot more production but we have to remember that Williams is still learning the game. Williams showed falshes of brilliance and then other times looked completely out of position on the floor, remember he was pegged as a tweener (not really a power forward or a small forward) coming into the NBA. He had a stretch of 19 games where he looked like he was putting it all together in the beginning of February through mid-March, and that is what the Timberwolves are hoping they can capitalize on in the future. During that stretch he averaged 17.4 points and started to look the part of the #2 overall pick in the draft. Williams had a game in which he scored 24 points and grabbed 16 rebounds against the Utah Jazz. The Jazz have one of the bigger front courts in all of basketball, that game prooved that he can play the power forward spot in the NBA. The question now becomes, should he play that position?
With Kevin Love coming back at full strength next season the Timberwolves will be forced to ask where Derrick Williams should be playing in this lineup. The Wolves also will have a pretty high draft pick and in a dream scenrio would pick up a shooting guard (possibly CJ McCollum). The front court consists of Nikola Pekovic at Center, Kevin Love at Power Forward, and Andrei Kirilenko and Chase Budinger at Small Forward. As you see, there is a log jam for playing time. I truly believe that Williams should commit himslef to losing some weight and trying to gain some quickness and move right into the small forward spot. It really is his only chance to stay with the Minnesota Timberwolves franchise. He will not be logging enough minutes behind a healthy Kevin Love to make an impact as a rising star in this league. At the small forward position he could give teams fits, trying to guard him. He has a good outside shot, is underrated athletically, and his quickness would get better with lost weight. The team would look pretty good on paper with Rubio at the point, McCollum possibly at shooting guard, Williams at small forward, Love at power forward, and Pekovic at center. Now that’s a team that could win some games in this league.
If Williams decides to stay at the power forward position he will need to make the most of his minutes played. He will then either have to wait out his contract and move on or hope that the Wolves put together a playoff team and play a backup role for a contender. Either way, this next season will be a key to the rest of Derrick Williams career in the NBA, make or break.