Remember when I was saying that Derrick Williams was best-suited to play the power forward and that he likely didn’t fit on this team? To many I was a common hater. They said, “But he’s young! You can’t give up on him,” and I wasn’t. When I said that he didn’t have the range now to play the small forward position they said, “But he’s dropped weight and been shooting jumpers,” in the same way that someone might try to become a tree by sticking their feet in the ground in hopes they become roots and growing their hair out to act as leaves while holding out their arms like branches.
Does that make you anymore of a tree? Heck no.
Then, Friday, Oceanary over at Canis Hoopus gave us this:
I know a lot of us would love to see Williams work out successfully at the 3, but I just don’t see how that realistically will happen. We couldn’t get Beasley to work as a 3, and he actually had a good amount of the skills and at least the basic mindset for it. Williams isn’t going to overtake Kirilenko, and it’s kind of hard to make a reasonable argument for why he should be the #1 reserve instead of Budinger. At this point, I have a hard time even convincing myself he’s the best backup for Love, after seeing up close what Cunningham can do. Dante is a physical, blue-collar guy who’s going to affect the game with sheer activity (and without his numbering being called) by rebounding, playing hard-nosed defense, and just generally being disruptive. And that, in a very real way, makes him better suited to and more valuable for this team.
At some point, I think this team is just going to have to face the facts: Williams is a guy who could potentially be a pretty good power forward, on a team that has absolutely no minutes available at power forward.
It’s not like the Wolves are oblivious to this sort of thing. The reason we got Cunningham in the first place is because the team saw it had a need for a hustler/defender in the post and no minutes available for Wayne Ellington on the wings.
I like Williams, and I think he’ll have a good career as a valuable player, but I don’t see how it will happen here. He’s a stretch 4, on a team that already has one of the best, if not the best, stretch 4s in the league. With Kirilenko and Cunningham filling in the gaps around Love, how is Williams going to find space?
Read the full article yourself, but I’ve been saying! In fact, Oceanary probably said it better, and some things that I hadn’t thought of yet. And it’s not just me. Williams was 5-15 shooting at one point in Friday’s game with just 12 points before making his last four shots and getting to the line a few times to save his stat line. Honestly, it’s probably time to face the facts that he’s not efficient enough right now to play on the perimeter. Especially since the Timberwolves added perimeter shooters, hustle players, and defensive-minded players to address the team’s needs that are also areas of weakness in Derrick’s game.
This isn’t to say that Derrick will never be able to shoot or learn to play defense, but he’s not that type of player now. And there really is nothing with being able to be a good power forward. Unfortunately for Williams, the Wolves have three better players at that position than him now, and a trade may be mutually beneficial for both parties.