When Derrick Williams was drafted second overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves, it was to be part of a nucleus that included Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. As a long and athletic small forward/power forward hybrid, he drew comparisons to Andre Iguodala and Luol Deng as a very good defensive player and rebounder.
However, showing that he is better suited to be a power forward was a problem for Minnesota. With PF Love already the face of their franchise, they decided to move Williams to the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings have given the third-year player a chance to be their starter. He has started all six games and averaged 12.8 points and 5.2 rebounds, but has shot the ball at a career-best pace of 52.8 percent. After acquiring Rudy Gay from Toronto, the Kings will now have one of the most athletic and skilled frontcourts with Gay, Williams and DeMarcus Cousins.
On Monday against the Dallas Mavericks, Williams scored 31 points in a 112-97 Sacramento victory. He also grabbed five rebounds and had five steals in his 35 minutes. He shot 12-of-16 from the field and went 3-of-5 from the 3-point line. He combined with Cousins to outscore the entire Mavericks starting lineup 63-62, and out-rebounded them 24-16.
Being able to beat a Mavericks team that is currently in the playoff picture without Gay in the lineup is impressive. Williams played the small forward position with Jason Thompson starting at power forward. Once Gay arrives, they can move Williams to power forward or to a sixth man role.
The play of Williams and the addition of Gay will allow Sacramento to compete for the rest of this season and help them bring shooting guard Ben McLemore along slowly. A lineup that includes McLemore, Gay, Williams and Cousins could compete with any team and once they get a point guard, they could compete for a playoff spot in the West.