Derrick Williams is one of many top overall picks considered to be a bust once they entered the NBA. When playing for the Arizona Wildcats, Williams averaged 17.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg, and 0.7 bpg. After two years of college ball, Williams decided to enter the 2011 NBA Draft, where he was selected second overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Williams’ dynamic playmaking abilities haven’t exactly translated since he joined the NBA, only averaging 10.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg, and 0.5 bpg for the Timberwolves. The most alarming statistical decline for Williams has to be his field goal percentage. Williams went from shooting 59 percent in college to 42 percent in the NBA. Although his minutes aren’t as high as his collegiate days, Williams is showing the signs of a player that is losing confidence in his game.
This upcoming season is, in many ways, a make or break year for the Timberwolves franchise. Although none of their key players’ contracts are expiring, the roster that has been assembled by both David Kahn and Flip Saunders is expected to make some noise in the Western Conference. If this current roster misses the playoffs this season (especially since the franchise hasn’t been there since 2003), expect a lot player movement from the Timberwolves in the following offseason.
Williams needs to embrace his position as a role player behind Kevin Love at the forward position. More confidence around the rim offensively will increase both his points and rebounding averages. An increase in minutes is the only way for Williams to build the confidence he needs to excel again. Rick Adelman is one of the best coaches the game has seen, so it is up to him to get Williams to buy into the team’s identity and vision, one that will hopefully land them a spot in the playoffs and end the 10-year drought.