Derrick Williams and his NBA career have come to an impasse. Unfortunately for the Sacramento Kings, the tough decision on whether to invest in Williams or cut him loose has landed on their front doorstep.
On one hand he’s too naturally gifted to write off and on the other it’s difficult to justify waiting for that talent to show up. Especially for a Kings team with lofty goals and expectations to improve year after year. There’s no room on this train for complacency.There’s also the issue of Williams being a former No. 2 overall pick. Although rookies are only handed a fitted cap for which team they’re drafted by, there’s an invisible chain that’s draped around their necks that most don’t see — especially for players drafted as high as Williams.
It’s laden with the numerous expectations and the debacle of whether the player is real or hype. It’s hard to send a former No. 2 pick into league obscurity, which explains why Williams is still heavy on the tongue.
His career thus far is reminiscent an old television set from back in the day when they were still referred to as “television sets” Well into the life of the TV you might have to pull an iron hangar out of the closet.
With that hangar positioned where the antenna should’ve been, on any given night you’ll receive a clear picture. Most nights there’s just enough picture visible to keep you entertained, but never enough to keep you engaged all night.
That’s Derrick Williams in a nutshell. He’s shown bits and pieces of what heights his game can ascend to, while the majority of his career has been ugly static and white noise.
And despite his claims of wanting to be near teammates, it’s part of the reason the 23-year-old with four seasons under his belt spent his summer hooping with other rookies, second-year players and league hopefuls in Las Vegas.
The book on Williams isn’t finished, and it’s hard to tell as if there’s been any attempt at pen to paper to start. Although he’s three years departed from his rookie campaign, we’re all still waiting for his career to begin.
Upon being drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves right behind Kyrie Irving, not many thought Williams would be currently in hoops purgatory. He’s had averages of 9.6 points and 4.8 rebounds while playing less than 20 minutes only once in his career.
He’s 6’8″ and 240 pounds with the ability to shoot, handle the ball and pass. With such gifted physical attributes, it’s odd that neither the Timberwolves or Kings have been able to make use of them.
So how do you make use of Derrick Williams? His 6.4 field goal attempts in 24 minutes played last season spells mediocre, and his rebounding stats do as well.
Is there hope for Williams on the development side, or is there need for a different role within the Kings system? Most important — what is Williams actually good at on the floor? His stat line is consistently so bland it’s truly hard to tell, and there’s no doubt head coach Mike Malone is eager to make better use of those minutes in the upcoming season.
There’s hope for Williams, and although his history as a player doesn’t justify it — hope is delivered by way of preferential treatment.
When the Kings signed point guard Darren Collison, they gained a guard who’s great at pick and roll situations. Collison routinely exhibits great speed coming off the pick which is perfect for a capable perimeter shooter like Williams.
He hit more than 40 percent of his jumpers taken free throw line extended last season, and with his ability to see the floor and pass, a roaming big man off the bench might be the perfect role.
No pressure to score, and even less pressure to put the ball on the floor and penetrate. However, buying into a team concept that fastens Williams’ natural abilities towards the intangibles is an idea.
The Kings need players that will win the mini-games that don’t make the box score every night. A guy who’s willing to sacrifice his body and take charges.
A selfless player who’s willing to set screens while understanding the ball will most likely not be swung in his direction until last resort. Williams is the perfect player for that role.
It’s a way to make use of him while the Kings wait for a formal introduction — Sacramento Kings meet Derrick Williams’ game … whenever and if ever that actually happens.
On a more skeptical side, it could turn into another “wasted talent” story. Either way the Kings find even the most miniscule bit of use for Williams. He has too much potential… Or does he? For now, the Kings will continue to play the waiting game.