The Minnesota Timberwolves traded the freakishly athletic Derrick Williams to the Sacramento Kings a month and a half ago in return for the defensively minded Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. The recently injured Mbah a Moute didn’t play as his former team visited the Target Center on Wednesday night, but Williams exploded for 16 points on 7-11 shooting as the Kings topped the Wolves by a score of 111-108.
Williams was moved because Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman values veterans over youngsters, and the team badly needed defensive help that Williams simply wasn’t providing. They got a good value player in Mbah a Moute, but with the potential Williams flashed at times last season — and Wednesday night — it’s already looking as if the Kings got the better end of the deal.
It’s true that Williams wasn’t going to get the playing time he needed in Minnesota to develop, as Kevin Love demands the vast majority of the power forward minutes while Chase Budinger and Corey Brewer split time at the small forward position. However, that is no reason to let Adelman off the hook, as it was easy to see the potential Williams possesses, especially when he became the team’s leading scorer last season when Love was out due to numerous injuries.
Williams showed off his versatility Wednesday night, as he made quite a few athletic moves around the hoop and scored some points using his long-range shooting ability as well. Williams is now in the perfect situation in Sacramento, as he’s surrounded by other young players who are going out each and every night to earn more minutes, and he recently has been one of the few to standout as he’s averaging 11 points per game on 54 percent shooting in the month of January.
While the Kings are still an abysmal 14-23 on the season, the future looks bright if Williams and their other young players continue to progress and reach their full potential. For the Timberwolves, however, they continue to struggle in close games and could use the bench scoring that Williams provided in his 28 minutes of playing time.