In the 2011 draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves drafted Derrick Williams with the second overall pick. Williams was coming off a spectacular sophomore season at Arizona but was a questionable pick by Minnesota. The Wolves had an established starter at power forward in Kevin Love and Williams had never played much small forward at Arizona. In his two seasons in Minnesota, Williams has been a disappointment and it seems that for both parties a move elsewhere is for the best. Still only 21 years old, the possibility that Williams will be more effective on a new team is strong. These five teams are the five best opportunities for Williams to live up to his potential as the second overall pick.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are among the oldest teams in the league and need a transfusion of young talent. Williams is the type of player who fits perfectly in the Mike D’Antoni system. Williams would be an immediate upgrade over recently named starting power forward Earl Clark. Williams’ willingness and the ability to knock down the three would make D’ Antoni love him overnight. In a system where defense is not highly valued, Williams’ lapses on defense wouldn’t be a big problem. Playing in his hometown of LA would most likely be a positive influence on Williams.
The Wizards are a team with a great young starting guard duo in John Wall and Bradley Beal, but they’re sorely lacking at both forward positions. Williams would be an upgrade for the Wizards in either forward position. The addition of Williams gives the Wizards another young talent to add to their nucleus of young players. Williams would instantly be among the better young power forwards in the Southeast Division giving the Wizards an advantage at one of the NBA’s key positions.
Among the worst offensive teams in the NBA, the Sixers are in desperate need of offensive talent, particularly in the frontcourt with the continued absence of Andrew Bynum. In his college career, Williams was a dynamic post and isolation scorer – both abilities that the Sixers need in greater abundance. His ability to play both forward positions can help the Sixers if they utilized Williams as a 6th man to provide instant offense off the bench.
The Bucks have a great starting backcourt in Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis and need help at forward. Playing with a great defensive center in Larry Sanders would mask his defensive inefficiencies and help him to improve at the same time. A move to Milwaukee gives Williams the increased playing time he needs to get better. The lack of prospects at the forward position in Milwaukee would also decrease the likelihood of Williams being benched for struggling.
The Dallas Mavericks are nearing the question of whether it’s time for the team to rebuild completely or add pieces to the puzzle they are currently building. The Mavericks have already shown the ability to help players who were viewed as disappointments to live up to their potential, like O.J. Mayo. The Mavericks have a solid but aging forward duo in Shawn Marion and Dirk Nowiztki. The ability to learn and sub for both of these players would be a great learning experience for Williams. As the first player off the bench for the Mavs, Williams adds athleticism and post abilities, which are two areas in which the Mavs are lacking.
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