Scout’s Comparison: David West, Michael Beasley
Reasons to Howl: Derrick Williams is as athletic as they come. Not to mention he’s got bulk, height and explosiveness, which turns his athleticism into fear for all those looking to stop him. We’ve all been witness to David Kahn and his non-stop search for athleticism and length and Williams fits that prototype almost better than anyone in the draft at his position. Wait, what position does he play again? That’s why Williams could very well be highly coveted. You see, Williams played a bulk of his minutes at the three in college, which allows other bigs to step in and solidify defense down low. But when coach feels the offense is lagging, they have the ability to slide Williams to the four, where he can bang with the best of them all while dominating them with his sheer speed advantage.
The most surprising dimension to Williams’ game is his high shooting percentage. He shot 59% from the field and showed how he thrives in isolation situations. Whether he strides to the rack or settles for a jumper, he gets his looks and hits them often. Even more impressive is his true shooting percentage of 69%, which ranked 4th for all the NCAA. The Wolves need shooters, and efficient ones at that. Can it get much better than that for a guy who only demanded 10 attempts a game? Don’t think so.
Reasons to Worry: We’ve heard this before, right? A strong, athletic stretch four who seems to have the talent to take over games, just as Williams did against Duke in the second half of their epic Sweet Sixteen matchup, and also has the talent to to be in, or near, the top of the league in scoring. With Michael Beasley already holding down his position, is there really a need for a similar player to back him up? Not exactly. Although the need for depth, and a potential replacement for Martell Webster, would be great, it’s not amongst the top needs for the Wolves with a top lottery pick when other weaknesses are painfully glaring.
Also, the Wolves are looking to upgrade their bottom-dwelling defense in terms of efficiency and Williams won’t help there. He’s a little undersized to guard the post as well as snag defensive boards and too slow laterally to stick to other small forwards.
Benefits to the Wolves: Drafting a player at a position that’s already filled never seems wise, but you don’t know David Kahn. Pending the Wolves’ position after the lottery, the Wolves could very well be picking 2nd or even 3rd, which leaves Williams staring Kahn and co. straight in the face. Beasley on the roster or not, they take him and look for competition come training camp time. Perhaps the threat of Williams vying for a starting job on a team with no solidified starters, except for Love, lights a fire under Beasley and he then evolves into the player we all thought he’d be coming into the league as a rookie. Worst comes to worst, they end up being the same type of player and we send one of them away for a veteran leader instead. There really doesn’t seem like a wrong answer in this one.
The Howlin’ Verdict: Say we lose on the lottery and pick at either 2 or 3, you still take Williams. No regrets, no sulking. Best. Player. Available. A team as bad as the Wolves have no right to draft for need at that point, especially in such a weak draft.