Minnesota Timberwolves star forward Kevin Love is expected to miss five to eight weeks weeks of action with a broken hand, which means second-year forward Derrick Williams will get an opportunity to prove he was worth the No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Head coach Rick Adelman has never exactly endorsed Williams as a good fit for his offense, which was recently noted by Britt Robson of the Minnesota Post. Robson goes on to identify court vision, ball-sharing and team defense as "glaring weaknesses in Williams' game."
On draft night the experts debated whether the former Arizona Wildcats standout would fit better as a small forward or a stretch power forward in the NBA, and the experiments with slotting Williams part time at each spot haven't been too encouraging. His 26.8 percent accuracy from beyond the arc, 49.9 TS% and 12.97 PER leave plenty to be desired, especially for a premium draft pick. Robson points out that Adelman wants his young forward to focus on attacking the rim:
During the first few days of camp, Adelman raved about Williams' attitude and conditioning.
But as the camp unfolded and during the preseason games to date, some familiar problems have arisen. One is shot selection. Adelman wants fewer jumpers and more drives to the rim. Williams said the coach has urged him to "attack attack attack" for his points, which is why we have seen Adelman spin and grimace as Williams clanks jump shots during this preseason.
If the message on shot selection doesn't seep in, Adelman could turn to Dante Cunningham or slide veteran forward Andrei Kirilenko over from his small forward spot. That wouldn't be a good sign for the team, however, because Williams' trade value would take a big hit if teams see he can't beat out a backup like Cunningham for minutes.
The Minnesota Timberwolves begin their season Nov. 2, when they play host to DeMarcus Cousins and the Sacramento Kings.