It’s Time For Wolves’ Williams To Howl

HANG TIME, Texas — As the cold nights and the injuries pile up in Minneapolis, so should the opportunities for those still upright and healthy in the Timberwolves lineup.

So what should we make of Derrick Williams, the No. 2 pick in the 2011? After doing little to distinguish himself as a rookie, Williams has shown few signs of getting better.

Much credit has been given to the always-resourceful coach Rick Adelman for keeping his team moving forward without the infirmed Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love, Brandon Roy and now Chase Budinger.

However, the Wolves 5-3 record is even more impressive when you consider how little he’s getting out of a gem prospect like Williams who has turned into cubic zirconia in barely a year. Last season, he at least had the post-lockout excuses of no real training camp and a condensed schedule to blame.

None of that applies this time around and, if anything, the opportunities to prove himself have only grown in the face of so many injuries.

But according to our man Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Williams shows no inclination of rising to the occasion and pitching in:

The Wolves’ most gifted healthy player isn’t playing long enough or hard enough to justify the second pick in the 2011 draft, isn’t playing long or hard enough to justify his place on a team that desperately needs him right now, and he doesn’t seem to understand that if he can’t help right now he might not be asked to help much later.

The Wolves have four players on the All-Star ballot. Three are injured. Two haven’t played at all this season. Six of their seven top players were out Wednesday.

Their best healthy player, Kirilenko, is surviving with brains and elbows, surviving by reminding his teammates that 95 percent of the game is played below the rim and between the ears. Thursday, the day after Williams faded, the Wolves signed small forward Josh Howard as a (luke)warm body to help spell Kirilenko.

Williams should be embarrassed. Apparently, he is not.
“I think we all struggled,” he said, referring to all of the Wolves who had shots blocked.

Asked about his progress, he said: “I’m feeling a lot better. I’m not worried about misses and makes like that. If you play the game going off misses and makes it’s going to be a long season.”

Williams’ 8.8 point per game scoring average is identical to last season, while his field goal percentage has dropped from a poor 41.2 to an abysmal 32.4. He has the athleticism and the skills to get to the rim, but can’t finish. He has scored in double figures only three times thus far and shot just 9-for-33 in his last three games.

He watches veterans like Andrei Kirilenko throw his body all over the floor at both ends and does not join him. At a time when Williams’ hustle and attitude should be forcing Adelman to give him more playing time, he still spends more than half of every game on the bench.

Rubio, Love, Roy, Budinger. It’s an injured list that almost hurts just to read.

Ndudi Ebi, Rashad McCants, Jonny Flynn, Wesley Johnson. It’s a list of washout first-round draft picks by the Timberwolves that is painful in a different way and that Williams keeps inching closer to joining.

6 Comments

  1. Josher says:

    D-Will stands around wide open while Berrea and Ridnour force up ridiculous shots. If you want more production then go to him consistently. He would probably love to get traded to a team that would use him correctly.

  2. DStrick says:

    Trade him for Tyus Thomas he.also had the same hype coming out and both playing like trash for there teams.

  3. charles says:

    I think he’s going to be like James Harden or Danny Granger. Slow fist year, but just improve every year until he smokes everyone. Some players don’t shine right away. Some take some time. Williams was the same in College he didn’t start as the best but became that over time. He is one of those that absorb first and deliver later…..let him bloom…he’ll be good.

  4. Jasmoove says:

    Must trade him to an SG to fill the role of Brandon Roy.. better late than never

    • Borko says:

      SG ??????? They have 5 amazing players at PG and SG = Barea, Rubio, Roy, Sved, Luke and plus not so good Lee. Additionally Budinger and the new comer Howard can play SG!!!!!! They dont need SG, after some of the guys from injury will be back the Wolves will be amazing team with lot of depth, as for D-Will he has to be more aggressive, on the long run he will be very good but never an All Star or something like that, he will be a solid 7 or 8 man on the team.

  5. dattebayo says:

    That Bobcats game was a team thing, they all couldn’t make a lot of shots and they just missed their best scorers in Barea, Love and Buddinger. Yet, Williams started and could have gotten them off to a great start. He had 3 dunks and 3 layups in the beginning of the game and he didn’t/couldn’t finish any of them, going 0-6. He got fouled twice, made only 2-4 from the line but the other 4 were bad misses. When most forwards/centers in the league have 3 open dunks and 3 layups, they usually finish 4-5 plays and that’s a 10-12 point first quarter if they finish the and1s. I know it’s just his 2nd year and last season was shortened, but if you are around Buddinger and Kirilenko, can’t you learn a few things from them? I have yet to see him make a cut to the rim for an easy finish, Kirilenko does that twice a game. His help defense needs to improve and he has to stop hesitating every time he gets the ball on the wing. I hope he does better, but with the Howard signing he will probably play less and less in the future, especially when Love is back.