|2011 NBA Draft
|Drafted 2nd overall by Minnesota.
|12th December, 2011
|Signed four year, $20,760,924 rookie scale contract with Minnesota. Included team options for 2013/14 and 2014/15.
|30th October, 2012
|Minnesota exercised 2013/14 team option.
|26th October, 2013
|Minnesota exercised 2014/15 team option.
|26th November, 2013
|Traded by Minnesota to Sacramento in exchange for Luc Richard Mbah A Moute.
|9th July, 2015
|Signed a two year, $8,998,000 contract with New York. Included player option for 2016/17.
|21st June, 2016
|Declined 2016/17 player option.
|10th July, 2016
|Signed a one year, $4,598,000 contract with Miami.
|6th February, 2017
|Waived by Miami.
|9th February, 2017
|Signed a 10 day contract with Cleveland.
|22nd February, 2017
|Signed a second 10 day contract with Cleveland.
|4th March, 2017
|Signed a guaranteed minimum salary contract for the remainder of the season with Cleveland.
|2009 - 2011
|June 2011 - November 2013
|Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA)
|November 2013 - June 2015
|Sacramento Kings (NBA)
|July 2015 - June 2016
|New York Knicks (NBA)
|July 2016 - February 2017
|Miami Heat (NBA)
|February 2017 - June 2017
|Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)
September 4, 2018
Eight years ago, Williams was a #2 overall pick. He has been in the NBA for at least part of every season since, yet his lustre has diminished to the point that his only NBA work last year was a single 10-day contract with the L.A. Lakers. For a long time, the knock against Williams was his lack of position; he was either a power forward without interior size or game, or a perimeter playing small forward who neither handled nor shot as well as his peers. It should surely figure that the evolution of the NBA game towards more stretch play from all frontcourt positions would benefit a player like Williams. Yet he cannot make it stick, and remains unsigned for now.
June 29, 2017
SF/PF, 6’8, 240lbs, 26 years old, 6 years of experience
Played pretty well in his 427 minutes, shooting efficiently, albeit doing very little other than that. He was not trusted in the playoff rotation, however, despite rumours that he might be. On a team that could use some athleticism at the forward positions, some energy, and someone who can make things happen in the half court, Williams could have some use. He has not panned out from his draft billing, but that matters not now.
Player Plan: One of the more talented bench pieces who could learn a thing or two from Jefferson. Expiring minimum salary who could command more on the open market should another team think him a worth reclamation project, but after two straight offseasons of doing so without much to show for it, he may be available for the minimum only. Warts and all, Williams is more of a player worth keeping than the Jones types.
December 11, 2013
On the most basic level, the Sacramento Kings needed more talent. They now have that. Even after years of mismanagement and the frivolous burning of assets, Sacramento now has, you would think, a core five. Isaiah Thomas, one of the draft steals of the decade and a man who thoroughly outplayed Vasquez thus far this season, is the point guard. Preconceptions that small score-first guards must come of the bench should be disposed of, because Thomas is a legitimate starter. Rookie Ben McLemore has had a slow first month, but has plenty of time on his side to be the two guard of the future while Gay slots in at small forward. Derrick Williams is thriving since his trade from Minnesota, now that he is finally functioning as a full time power forward. DeMarcus Cousins is tied into a maximum contract extension, the certified core piece going forward. Marcus Thornton, Jason Thompson and Carl Landry compliment this lineup from the bench with quality role player production, creating a front eight of players that any team could use.
November 29, 2013
t is too young to definitely assign any such label to new Sacramento Kings forward Derrick Williams, who recently began only his third season in the NBA. However, you can by this time have a pretty good idea of where on that spectrum he might be. Williams, indisputably, has thus far been a disappointment. The versatility he showed in his game in college has transposed to the NBA only in the form of awkwardness - efforts to make him into a small forward have not proven to be too successful, yet nor have stints at power forward. It is as tough to have a small forward who cannot defend the perimeter as it is to have a power forward who can't make a shot in the paint, and at various different times thus far, he has been both. Williams, therefore, has so far proved only that he needs to start again.
Being traded is the surest way to do that, and in being dealt to the Kings from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Luc Richard Mbah A Moute, Williams is afforded that opportunity of redemption. Sacramento, in recent history poor at developing young talents or winning cultures, is trying to distance itself from this recent history and create a better culture, a better climate for incubating younger talents, and (not coincidentally) a better defensive unit. This is why they brought in Mbah A Moute from the Milwaukee Bucks for the extremely low price of a 2016 second round pick and a right to swap 2019 seconds - Mbah A Moute, after all, is rightly revered one of the better defensive forwards in the league. New Kings GM Pete D'Alessandro was a member of the Denver Nuggets front office in 2011 that signed him to a subsequently matched offer sheet, and seemingly had not forgotten the virtues that he saw in him then.
However, the Kings also need more talent. This is a more pressing concern. You cannot rebuild something that hasn't been built the first time - the Kings needs to first identify more quality pieces for the future before they can work out how to maximize and compliment them. So out goes the Fresh Prince again in exchange for Williams, who represents an almost free and impossible to pas up gamble on a flickering flame that can still be coaxed back to full strength. Despite it all so far, Williams still has a high talent level.
It is, of course, not as high as it should be for one picked so high and once touted so greatly. Coming out of Arizona, Williams had a jump shot, a handle and a post-up game, a diverse offensive arsenal to compliment decent athleticism, speed, and rebounding rate. Yet these skills have not progressed much in his first two seasons. Any offensive improvements in that time have mostly come via the three-point and long two-point jump shot, which has gone from poor to mediocre. Those are not adjectives befitting of a No. 2.
What Williams does seem to have made some strides towards thus far in his career is his defense. Williams' effort, normally sufficient, is now aided by better awareness and fundamental positioning, and despite the odd lapse, there is improvement on that end of the court, and it was sorely needed. Of course, the Timberwolves rightly noted that, if it was combo forward defensive ability they want, Williams could never rival Mbah A Moute. He is one of the league's best on that end, and, despite an anomalous decline on the offensive end last season, he regularly contributes enough on that end (career 6.8 ppg, 46% FG) to not be a liability.
However, as decent as he is, Mbah A Moute now joins a team that already has Dante Cunningham. The two are not identical, but neither are the Buffer brothers, Bruce and Michael - even though one is better, you're still getting much the same thing from both. The Wolves' strong and fun starting five are undermined right now by a lack of depth, but Mbah A Moute, duplicating the suitably defensive and tenacious Cunningham as much as he does, does not rectify this greatly. Chase Budinger will when he returns, yet when he does, someone's minutes will have to suffer. And while the Wolves do need improved team defense, hence the desire to trade for one of the best team defending forwards around, Mbah A Moute will only better the team he is on if he gets on the court. If he does, someone else at that position doesn't, and the weaknesses elsewhere aren't fixed.
It is fair to say, then, that Mbah A Moute is not a great return for Williams. Even if disregarding the rest of the roster's make-up and looking at him in a vacuum, he is merely a decent role player, surely insufficient return from an asset so prized. The reality of the situation could however (and should have been, too, else this was an illogical deal) be that Mbah A Moute was nevertheless the best possible return for Williams, so inconsistent was his play and so declined was his value. If his value had gotten this low, and Minnesota felt that they would not be able to rebuild it much in light of Williams's rough start to the season, the strong play of others, and the need to find minutes for Budinger/Cunningham, perhaps it was the right thing to do to take the best offer, however underwhelming it may have been.
But if it was that low, how was it allowed to reach that point?
October 10, 2013
Derrick Williams, Minnesota Timberwolves
Williams has struggled to perform in the NBA, and the Timberwolves have struggled how best to get him to do so. Somewhat positionless, Williams's raw numbers of 12.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game would suggest he was a certainty to return, however, his inconsistency, sometime ineffectiveness, lack of logical fit with the rest of the roster and his significant price tag ($6,331,404), nevertheless could jeopardize this.
Williams is likely to have his option exercised purely because it would be poor asset management and a poor reflection of the franchise's decision making in general for a No. 2 pick to not make it to the end of his rookie scale contract. You have to be Hasheem Thabeet ineffective for that to come into play. It is perhaps more likely then that the option will be exercised and Williams shopped, if his play continues to underwhelm.
However, with the Timberwolves soon to be threatened by the luxury tax for the first time in a long time, there is something to be said for declining Williams's option and maximizing their breathing space. Thus, it is a legitimate option.
June 25, 2011
Pick 2: Minnesota eventually yields to the inevitable and chooses Derrick Williams at number two, to the great contentment of Bilas. The selection is accompanied by a shot of the Timberwolves' executives in their "war room," clapping themselves. It is normally customary for the team picking 1st overall to be burdened with this strangely mandatory shot, yet seemingly Cleveland have been so secretive that they wouldn't let it happen. Someone owes Jeanine Edwards a weekend.
Derrick Williams's highlight montage speaks to the versatility and skill level of his game, yet at no point does it show him making a pass. This probably was not deliberate, yet it does inadvertently make a point - Williams really does not pass the ball much. Then, during his interview with Mark Jones, Williams sways from side to side throughout in a very distractive way. Is this a testament to his activity level on the court? It might be. Or he might just need a wee.
Ultimately, despite the kerfuffle, Minnesota made the right move. They tried to get a star for him, and when they couldn't, they rightly settled on the guy with potential, and the most potential at that. Williams isn't a franchise player, ranking somewhere between David West and Antawn Jamison, but he's better than the trade options. You should always take the best player available, particularly when you won 17 games. You can worry about the fit later.
It is possible that all the transparency was actually just David Kahn playing the bait-and-switch to perfection. It is not likely, however.
Derrick Williams has a massive head.
June 23, 2011
March 17, 2011
The best of the bunch is, unmistakably, Derrick Williams. Williams is a hugely capable all-around player with no discernible flaws. He is very athletic, strong, big enough, runs the court, creates in the post, creates off the dribble, can shoot from mid-range, can shoot from three, has good hands, can pass (although he should do it more), defend the post, and defend the perimeter. He is unfathomably productive, averaging 19/8 in only 29 minutes, with a PER of 32.5 and a true shooting percentage of over 70%. He's even shooting 61% from three. When your biggest flaws are not being two inches taller and not excelling in any one facet of the game, you know you're doing OK.
Arizona only goes as far as Williams takes them, and Williams only takes them somewhere if the supporting cast can get him the ball and contribute enough around him. But Williams is sufficiently good enough to get them a deep run.