Derrick Williams Playing For a Future Starting Role With Minnesota Timberwolves

By Tony Ramsey
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Forward Derrick Williams has been a bit of a mystery since the Minnesota Timberwolves drafted him second overall in 2011. The versatile combo forward struggled while trying to solidify a position as a rookie but was still able to average 8.8 points and 4.7 rebounds, although he only shot .412 from the field.

This season Williams has been slightly better as a reserve and spot starter for Kevin Love, averaging 10.8 points and 5.4 rebounds while increasing his shooting percentages across the board to ..421 from the field and .313 from three-point range. In the Timberwolves six games since the All-Star break Williams has been stellar and contributing 18 points and 8.8 rebounds. There is no doubt he can play on this level.

Williams clearly has a ton of offensive talent, the problem is he doesn’t have an NBA position yet. Williams has enough perimeter skills to play small forward at times, but not enough consistency or foot speed to play on the wing full time. At 6’8″, 245 lbs Williams has decent size and athleticism, but not enough height to contend in the paint for a full game as a power forward. Williams is the definition of a “tweener”.

With small forward being a position of need for the Timberwolves they should give Williams a look at the starting position next to Love and Ricky Rubio. Williams has one guaranteed season left on his rookie contract, so why not throw him out on the court with the starters and see if he has the skills to play the position full-time? Worst case scenario, Williams plays well enough to increase his trade value if the Timberwolves decide he isn’t in their future plans.

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