Derrick Williams is officially a bust, at least for the Minnesota Timberwolves. The team traded away their 2011 first round draft pick to the Sacramento Kings for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, a defensive specialist role player. While Williams will still have a chance to break out and have a long NBA career, it won’t be with the Timberwolves. The Kings acquired Mbah a Moute for two second round picks this offseason, so they have to be happy receiving a player with huge upside like Williams. The Wolves, on the other hand, seem to have given up on Williams and on finding a fair deal for him, instead focusing on the need to win now and keep star forward Kevin Love in Minnesota.
It’s tough to call a 22 year old player who averaged 12 points per game last season a bust, but Williams just never worked for the Timberwolves. Williams just never fit in Coach Rick Adelman’s offense, and while he showed flashes of promise and produced well enough when given minutes, Adelman simply didn’t play him this season. Making it so glaringly obvious that Williams was a non-essential part of the team seriously lowered his trade value, and general managers around the league had to know the Wolves would let him go for next to nothing.
Mbah a Moute isn’t nothing. In fact, he should contribute significantly for the team. However, many Wolves fans were expecting a savvy veteran with playoff experience beyond the two first round exits Mbah a Moute has played through. Still, having a lockdown defender come off the bench should be a big help for the Timberwolves, whose bench has allowed the second most points per game in the league.
As the Wolves came down to earth after an outstanding start it was clear they needed to make some moves to be competitive. Mbah a Moute will give them a piece that was previously missing, but the Timberwolves had to have been hoping for a bigger, better piece in return for a former No. 2 overall pick.