In the interest of adding depth and replacing the loss of Andrei Kirilenko, the Minnesota Timberwolves made a couple of solid moves on the wings for the 2013-2014 NBA season. One of their moves was to re-sign small forward Chase Budinger, who missed most of last season with Minny. The other move was to sign free-agent small forward Corey Brewer.
With Kirilenko out of the picture, Budinger and Brewer are expected to be competing for a starting job at the three. However, new general manager Flip Saunders says that there is another name that we should throw into that competition: former second overall pick Derrick Williams.
In an interview with Alan Horton of NBA.com, Saunders noted that this is going to be Williams’ third season in the league and with the Wolves, a point in his career when he has a ton to prove. Saunders also said that Williams has been working to get in better shape so that he can see the floor in more positions, including the small forward.
Williams appeared in 78 games for Minnesota last season, playing mostly at the power forward. He averaged 12 points, 5.5 rebounds and 0.6 steals in 24.6 minutes per game while shooting only 43 percent from the floor and just 33.2 percent from three.
One of the things moving Williams to the three would do is help improve his defense. He allowed 0.91 points per possession last season, ranking only 307th in the league. A lot of that was derived from him being bullied in the post. Contrarily, Williams was a solid defender against isolation looks and fighting off of screens, something that he would see more of as a small forward.
The biggest concern with moving Williams to the three, though, is how his offensive game would translate. Williams hasn’t exactly shown a strong ability shooting the ball outside of the restricted area, hitting on only 31.6 percent of his jump shots last season. Along with getting leaner, Williams is also going to need to improve as a shooter if he wants to succeed at the small forward.
It will be interesting to see how Williams improves his game this summer and how he performs in any opportunities he receives at the three. It’s hard to imagine him beating out solid players like Budinger and Brewer on the wings, though. If Williams doesn’t play the bulk of his minutes at the four this season, I’d be surprised.
Derrick Williams Must Show Improvement If He Wants Opportunities With Minnesota Timberwolves
Minnesota Timberwolves: Robbie Hummel Vying for the Final Roster Spot
Alexey Shved Needs to Prove Himself to Minnesota Timberwolves at Eurobasket 2013